January 21, 2022

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Israeli Chief Is to Meet Emirati Prince, Showcasing Deepening Ties

Israeli Leader Is to Meet Emirati Prince, Showcasing Deepening Ties

JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is about to grow to be the primary Israeli chief to make an official go to to the United Arab Emirates, after Israeli officers mentioned he would fly to Abu Dhabi on Sunday to fulfill with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, the de facto Emirati chief.

The go to is the newest signal of deepening ties between Israel and elements of the Arab world, a course of that accelerated within the fall of 2020 when Israel signed diplomatic agreements with 4 nations, including the United Arab Emirates, that had beforehand prevented formal relations with Israel due to its battle with the Palestinians.

The assembly additionally highlighted how these 2020 agreements — which have been brokered by President Donald J. Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu, Mr. Bennett’s predecessor as prime minister — have endured past the demise of the Trump and Netanyahu administrations.

By visiting Abu Dhabi, Mr. Bennett will obtain a foreign-policy laurel that was denied to Mr. Netanyahu, who was forced to cancel three journeys final winter, partly due to coronavirus restrictions and partly as a result of Emirati leaders balked on the prospect of changing into props in his re-election marketing campaign.

Israeli cupboard ministers have since visited the Emirates, however by no means a major minister.

Prince Mohammed’s invitation to Mr. Bennett underscored the shifting priorities of Gulf countries just like the United Arab Emirates, for whom the specter of a nuclear Iran is now of far larger concern than a decision to the Israeli-Palestinian battle.

For many years, solely Egypt and Jordan had formal relations with Israel, with most Arab leaders preferring to delay a détente till the institution of a Palestinian state.

Having lengthy maintained clandestine ties, the Emirates lastly solid a proper relationship with Israel in September 2020 after Israel promised to postpone its plan to annex elements of the occupied West Financial institution. Offers with Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan quickly adopted.

Since then, Emirati officers had mentioned little concerning the Palestinians, with mutual fears over Iran’s nuclear program forming the bedrock of the Israel-Emirati relationship as a substitute.

The worth of commerce between the Emirates and Israel has additionally quickly elevated: Within the first seven months of 2021, bilateral commerce was price greater than $600 million, in line with statistics cited in September by an Israeli official — about $550 million greater than throughout the equal interval in 2020. Banks, universities, airways and know-how corporations within the two nations have signed partnership offers, and their armies have carried out joint workout routines. The Emirates additionally arrange an funding fund, price $10 billion, for tasks in Israel.

Ties with Bahrain and Morocco have additionally continued to enhance, however questions have been raised concerning the sustainability of the take care of Sudan. Little momentum has been created since Israel and Sudan formally signed a normalization deal in January, the 2 nations haven’t exchanged ambassadors, and a recent coup in Khartoum solid doubt over all the association.

No new rapprochement has been introduced for the reason that Sudanese deal in January, regardless of hopes that Saudi Arabia, which has shut ties with the Emirates and which shares an antipathy for Iran, would grow to be the fifth nation to enroll to the Abraham Accords, because the offers are recognized. Mr. Netanyahu was reported to have met in secret in November 2020 with Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince, however Saudi officers denied the assembly befell.

And even within the Emirates, there are indicators of warning about attracting an excessive amount of consideration to its relationship with Israel. Mr. Bennett’s workplace invited dozens of Israel-based journalists to accompany him on his flight to Abu Dhabi, however Emirati officers declined to prepare a information convention for them or to host them on the prince’s palace. The journalists have been later uninvited from the mission totally, formally due to rising issues over the brand new coronavirus variant.

Myra Noveck contributed reporting.



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