Jerusalem: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Israel opened an embassy in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, a historic move four months after the normalization of relations between the Jewish state and the Gulf states.
The Israeli embassy is Israel’s latest move towards the Arab world. In recent months, the country has reached a series of normalization agreements and reached new agreements with four countries.
“Today the Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi has officially been opened, with the arrival of the mission head Eitan Naeh,” the ministry said in a statement.
“The Israeli embassy in the United Arab Emirates will advance relations between the countries on all levels.”
The UAE, along with Bahrain, signed a US-brokered deal in September to normalise relations with the Jewish state.
The agreements, known as the “Abraham Accords”, shattered a longstanding Arab consensus that there should be no normalisation with Israel until it reaches a comprehensive peace deal with the Palestinians.
The Palestinians condemned these agreements as “a blow to the back.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement stated that the Israeli Embassy in Abu Dhabi will operate from a “temporary office” until a permanent facility is established.
The mission will “expand the ties with the Emirati government, financial bodies and the private sector, universities, the media and more,” it added.
Israel and the UAE have already signed treaties on direct flights and visa-free travel, along with accords on investment protection, science and technology.
Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi welcomed the move, saying the embassy would “enable the expansion of bilateral relations between Israel and the Emirates for a swift and maximal implementation of the potential in these ties”.
Ashkenazi also thanked the UAE “heir to the throne, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, and my colleague and friend, Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, for their leadership and hospitality towards our representatives”.