JERUSALEM (Reuters) – In an historic first go to by a Gulf Arab nation, a United Arab Emirates delegation arrived in Israel on Tuesday to cement the normalisation deal signed final month.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and different American officers accompanied the delegation on Etihad Airways aircraft from Abu Dhabi to Ben Gurion Airport close to Tel Aviv.
They got a purple carpet welcome by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Overseas Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Finance Minister Israel Katz.
“We’re making historical past in a manner that may stand for generations,” Netanyahu stated.
“I believe that the go to of such a excessive stage delegation from the UAE… will present our peoples, the area and the whole world the advantage of having pleasant, peaceable and regular exchanges.”
The UAE and fellow Gulf state Bahrain in September turned the primary Arab states in 1 / 4 of a century to signal offers to determine formal ties with Israel.
The offers, brokered by U.S. President Donald Trump, had been solid largely over shared fears of Iran and Washington and its allies have stated they might foster regional peace and stability. However they’ve prompted anger from the Palestinians.
Wasel Abu Youssef, a member of the Government Committee of the Palestine Liberation Group, described Tuesday’s UAE go to as “shameful”.
Talking in Ramallah, within the Israeli-occupied West Financial institution, he stated it got here amid Israeli settlement enlargement within the West Financial institution.
“The bilateral agreements that had been introduced right this moment and the delegations that come and go, all of that provides the occupation a power to escalate its aggression and its crimes towards the Palestinian folks and will increase its intransigence and conceitedness,” he stated.
In Gaza, Hazem Qassem, a spokesman for the Islamist group Hamas, stated: “Such a go to will solely encourage the occupation to pursue the gradual annexation of West Financial institution lands,” he added.
The five-hour go to could be restricted to the airport close to Tel Aviv, on account of coronavirus issues, Israeli organisers stated.
“That is an historic second for the UAE nation and Israel and we’re trying ahead to salaam (peace) … within the area,” one of many Etihad pilots might be heard saying in a video posted on Twitter by U.S. Center East envoy Ari Berkowitz.
Berkowitz and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are accompanying the Emirati delegation, which is being led by Economic system Minister Abdullah bin Touq al-Mari and Minister of State for Monetary Affairs Obaid Humaid al-Tayer, in keeping with a UAE overseas ministry spokeswoman.
The U.S. officers had on Sunday joined an Israeli delegation to Bahrain for a signing ceremony to formalise ties.
Israel and the UAE have already signed a number of business offers since mid-August, after they first introduced they might set up full relations.
Israeli officers stated the 2 sides had been anticipated to signal a mutual visa-exemption settlement – Israel’s first with an Arab nation.
(Reporting by Lisa Barrington, Dan Williams and Ghaida Ghantous; Enhancing by John Stonestreet, Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Philippa Fletcher)
Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.