UAE Opens Embassy in Israel First in the Gulf Region

The United Arab Emirates opened its first embassy in Israel on Wednesday, following the recent inauguration of the Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi, a key step in the normalization of relations between the two countries.

With the opening of the diplomatic mission in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange building, the UAE became the third Arab country, after Egypt and Jordan, to open an embassy on Israeli soil, according to AFP. It is also the first Gulf country to open an embassy in Israel.

According to UAE Ambassador to Israel Mohammed Mahmoud Fateh Ali Hajjah, who opened the embassy, “The UAE and Israel are two innovative countries and we can harness this creativity to work together for a more prosperous and stable future for our two countries and the region.”

According to an AFP report in the region, Israeli President Isaac Herzog agitated that “this historic agreement must be extended to other countries seeking peace with Israel.” Israeli President Isaac Herzog attended the ceremony on the floor of the stock exchange, which is two floors below the UAE embassy offices.

Inspired by former U.S. administration Donald Trump, the UAE and Israel announced the normalization of relations in the summer of 2020.

Bahrain, another Gulf monarchy, as well as Morocco and Sudan, have also announced normalization agreements with Israel in recent months.

According to the report, at the end of June, Israel’s new Foreign Minister Yair Lapid visited the UAE to inaugurate Israel’s first embassy in a Gulf state.

However, from Mohammed . Abbas’s secular Fatah to the radical Hamas, Palestinians have condemned the normalization agreements, calling them “traitors” to the Arab state. They argue that the process should take place after the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved.

According to Yoel Guzansky, a researcher at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, normalization between Arab states and Israel passed a “crucial test” during the 11-day military conflict between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement ruling in the Gaza Strip, in May. According to Joel Guzanski, “It was a success because not a single country canceled the agreement, not even Sudan or Morocco.”

While these normalization talks are still ongoing, their development has “slowed down” in recent months, Guzanski qualified in an online chat with reporters. Joel Guzanski believes that “the excitement is gone today” and wondered about U.S. President Joe Biden’s specific support for these agreements to normalize relations advocated by Donald Trump.

The UAE has increased its investments in Israel but eventually wants to invest in the Palestinian territories, including Gaza, as well, where Qatar, a rival UAE monarchy, is dropping millions in aid, according to Abdullah Baqer, chairman of the Israel/Pirate Business Council, on Wednesday.