Ron Cantor — October 23, 2020
During its first official and historic state visit to Israel on Tuesday, a delegation from the United Arab Emirates requested permission to open an embassy in Tel Aviv — and as soon as possible. A letter was delivered to Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi from UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan who expressed the hope that Israel would also open an embassy in Abu Dhabi soon. “I have full faith in your unreserved support for opening diplomatic missions in Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi as quickly as possible,” the Emirati Foreign Minister wrote. “Best wishes to both countries and both friendly nations for advancement and prosperity in the future.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greeted the Emirati delegation at the airport on Tuesday and probably felt it was too much to say, “Why Tel Aviv, when you can be in Jerusalem habibi (slang: my friend)” “We are making history in a way that will stand for generations,” Netanyahu said. “This meeting shows the region and the entire world the benefit of having friendly, peaceful, normal relations. Ultimately it will be so much better working together as friends.”
The countries signed four agreements that pave the way for collaboration in economic investments, aviation and technology with more direct transportation routes for shipping and air travel and a waiver on tourist visas for both countries. This is the first agreement of its kind between Israel and an Arab state and Israelis even need visas to travel to America.
“The visit of such a high-level delegation from the UAE, and the agreements we are about to sign, will show our peoples, the region and the entire world the benefit of having friendly, peaceful, normal exchanges,” he said. “I believe that more and more governments across the Middle East understand, as we do here today, that we’re so much better off working together, as friends.” The establishment of a trilateral $3 billion investment fund called the Abraham Fund was also announced by U.S. International Development Finance Corporation CEO Adam Boehler. Among the agreements Israel and the UAE signed on Tuesday was one allowing for travel between the countries without a visa, the first agreement of its kind between Israel and an Arab state.
UAE Minister of State for Financial Affairs Obaid Humaid Al Tayer said the Abraham Accords, signed on Sept. 15 in Washington, will “achieve prosperity and growth for our economies and our people.” One of the deals signed this week includes an oil pipeline that will run from Eilat to Ashkelon which will be extended to the UAE, providing the Emirates with a bridge to get fossil fuel directly to Europe.