On June 29, 2021, Yair LAPID, Israeli Foreign Minister during a visit to UAE, opened the first embassy of the Jewish state in the Gulf. LAPID had a meeting in Abu Dhabi with Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-NAHYAN the Foreign Minister of UAE.
At the inauguration of the Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi, LAPID told diplomats that it was a “historic moment”. “Israel wants peace with its neighbors. With all its neighbors. We aren’t going anywhere. The Middle East is our home. We’re here to stay. We call on all the countries of the region to recognize that. And to come to talk to us” LAPID said during the opening ceremony.
Noura Al KAABI, the UAE Culture, and Knowledge Development Minister spoke after LAPID, saying: “It is essential that we prepare ourselves and our children toward a new world.”
The ceremony was attended by Emirati Ambassador to Israel Mohammad al KHAJA, Israel’s envoy to the UAE Eitan NA’EH, and local Chabad Rabbi Levi DUCHMAN.
The opening of the embassy in Abu Dhabi was cheered by Antony BLINKEN the US Secretary of State, who met Sunday with LAPID in Rome.
BLINKEN said in a statement that the establishment of the diplomatic mission and LAPID’s visit to the UAE marking the occasion “are significant for Israel, the UAE, and the broader region”.
“The US will continue to work with Israel and the UAE as we strengthen all aspects of our partnerships and work to create a more peaceful, secure, and prosperous future for all the peoples of the Middle East” the American diplomat said.
The Jewish community in the Emirates expressed excitement at LAPID’s visit.
“We are honored to welcome Foreign Minister LAPID,” said Chief Rabbi Yehuda SARNA. “The Jewish community in the UAE is thrilled by what this trip represents: a growing bond between the UAE and Israel.”
During the two-day visit, LAPID will also inaugurate Israel’s consulate in Dubai, as well as sign an agreement on economic cooperation, said Lior HAIAT, Israeli foreign ministry spokesman.
The UAE, along with Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco, began normalising relations with Israel last year under the “Abraham Accords” brokered by then-US President TRUMP.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud ABBAS dismissed the “Abraham Accords” as “an illusion” and asserted that colonial powers had “implant[ed] Israel as a foreign body in this region in order to fragment it and keep it weak”, according to the official Palestinian news service WAFA.
Underpinning UAE-Israel ties is a shared concern that Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers did not go far enough to curb Tehran’s reach in the region. The reservations by both countries about the deal helped propel quiet ties, long before they formally announced full diplomatic relations last year.
LAPID is also set to visit the site of Expo 2020 Dubai, a world fair opening in October, where Israel has built a pavilion.
This article was edited using the data from Aljazeera.com, France24.com, Mfa.gov.il, Dw.com, Middleeasteye.net, Timesofisrael.com, and Timesofindia.indiatimes.com.