UAE to Open Embassy in Israel on Wednesday as Historic Rapprochement Taking Place
00:04 GMT 12.07.2021 (Updated: 00:05 GMT 12.07.2021)
The Israeli diplomatic mission has been operating in the United Arab Emirates since January, when the first Israeli diplomat arrived in the Emirati capital after a US-brokered normalization deal in September.
The UAE is set to open its embassy in Israel on Wednesday, with Israeli president Isaac Herzog to be present at the event, The Times of Israel reported on Sunday.
Israel already opened its embassy in the Emirati capital, and in late June, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid inaugurated the Consulate General in Dubai. Lapid touted rapprochement as a "historic moment" and a time when "we chose peace over war."
In September last year, long-term efforts of the Trump administration to enhance Israel's position in the region and unite Gilf states against its "arch enemy" Iran resulted in the historic normalization deal, officially known as the Abraham Accords. By signing the agreements, the UAE and Bahrain agreed to establish diplomatic ties with the Jewish state.
Later, Morocco and Sudan followed suit and agreed to normalize ties with Israel.
© AP Photo / Alex BrandonIn this Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020 file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, U.S. President Donald Trump, Bahrain Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan pose for a photo on the Blue Room Balcony after signing the Abraham Accords during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington.
In this Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020 file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, U.S. President Donald Trump, Bahrain Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan pose for a photo on the Blue Room Balcony after signing the Abraham Accords during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington.
© AP Photo / Alex Brandon
UAE officials have said that the rapprochement with Israel was motivated purely by the desire to prevent "annexation", referring to former Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu's plans of expanding annexations in the West Bank.
In return for the deal, the Trump administration promised to sell F-35 fighter jets to the UAE, but the sale was put on hold by the new administration of Joe Biden. The former Israeli leader Netanyahu reportedly sought to block the sale of the jets.
While the UAE and Bahrain have underscored that restoring ties with Israel will in no way affect their commitment to the Palestinian cause, just weeks after the Gulf states signed the Abraham Accords, they significantly cut funding for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.
Normalization with Israel by states who had vowed support for Palestinians for decades was met with harsh criticism from the Palestinian authorities.