Historic visit of the Israeli Prime Minister to the United Arab Emirates



Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett flew to Abu Dhabi on Sunday, December 12, where he is making the first visit of a head of government of the Hebrew state to the United Arab Emirates. There, he will meet the Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammed Ben Zayed Al Nahyane, for, according to Tel Aviv, “Discuss the rapprochement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates”.

This is a real diplomatic coup that his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, had never succeeded in accomplishing, forced that he was to postpone his visit several times because of Covid-19 first, then in because of diplomatic tensions with Jordan.

On September 15, 2020, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain became the first Gulf Arab countries to publicly normalize their relations with Israel, spurred on by then-US President Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner. Those “Abraham’s agreements” had resulted in similar agreements with Morocco and Sudan.

They were signed by former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and approved by the current Israeli ruling coalition.

First official visit

Naftali Bennett’s office made it clear that this was the first visit “Official” of an Israeli prime minister. Because semi-clandestine relations have existed for a long time between the two countries. These links have been in full swing since the so-called “Abraham” standardization agreements of September 2020. The UAE Minister of the Economy, Abdulla Bin Touq, then mentioned “The creation of economic activities equivalent to a trillion dollars over the next ten years” between the two countries.

This is not the only advantage the Israeli government gets from its good relations with the Emirates. “It also positively influences our relations with Egypt and Jordan”, welcomes Asher Fredman, director of the Abrahamic Peace Accord Institute. Last month, the governments of Israel, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates signed a memorandum of understanding for the construction of solar power and water desalination facilities.

Iran at the center of concerns

Naftali Bennett’s visit comes at a time when negotiations have resumed in Vienna (Austria) on the Iranian nuclear issue. A major concern for Tel Aviv, which will be “On the agenda” talks between Israelis and UAE, says Asher Fredman.

→ READ. Iranian nuclear power: a big doubt hangs over the negotiations

The Israeli government is trying by all means to convince the international community to force Tehran to stop its nuclear program. Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Mossad Director David Barnea were on a trip to Washington last week to try to get the Biden government to toughen its tone vis-à-vis Tehran, even citing the hypothesis military strikes.

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