• Middle East Center for Reporting an Analysis

UAE-Israel ties begin with trade, diplomatic visits October 20-November 1, 2020

Updated: Nov 3, 2020

A flurry of activity underpinned the first months of relations


By SETH J. FRANTZMAN

A new UAE-Israel business council has also been created. There is also a new Gulf-Israel Women’s Forum. Leaders in the business and women’s council include Fleur Hassan Nahoum and Dorian Barak. The Jerusalem Post noted “Jerusalem deputy mayor Fleur Hassan met with Khalaf Al Habtoor, founding chairman of the Al Habtoor Group, a large conglomerate headquartered in the UAE, to discuss economic ties between the UAE and Israel.”


On October 20 Mnuchin came with the UAE delegation to Israel.  He said he was honored to represent President Trump. He had recently participated in a business confab in Abu Dhabi between Israel and the UAE. He flew on the first commercial flight from the UAE to Israel. He said the new ties create a tremendous foundation for innovation, prosperity and economic growth. Stronger security would follow, he said. He also said that the US, UAE and Israel share views on threats in the region.

An Israeli pipeline company EaPC will also conduct a preliminary deal to transport oil from the UAE to Israel through a pipeline from Eilat to Ashkelon. Globes report is here. Etihad airlines calls it a dawn of a new era. Direct flights and visa wavers are key to new relations.

Mohammed Bin Zayed said on October 12: “During a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, we discussed strengthening bilateral ties and examined prospects for peace and the need for stability, cooperation and development in the region.” On October 6 the UAE’s Abdullah Bin Zayed and Israel’s FM Gabi Ashkenazi went to the Holocaust memorial in Berlin.

The first cargo ship arrived in Israel from the UAE on October 12 and a new rabbi was named in the UAE. The October 20 ceremony at Ben-Gurion saw Netanyahu achieve some of his goals and dreams regarding the concept of peace through strength. Ynet noted that Netanyahu was “accompanied by Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Finance Minister Israel Katz, the prime minister hosted the Emirati delegation – including the UAE’s Minister of State for Financial Affairs Obaid Humaid Al Tayer and Economy Minister Abdullah bin Touq al-Mari – at a special five-hour ceremony confined to Ben-Gurion Airport due to coronavirus measures.”


The Trump administration has also achieved some of its goals. Reports on the same week indicated it was also seeking to get back US citizen Austin Tice from Syria.

The maritime shipping line, inaugurated by the MSC Paris, is historic, as is possible investment from DP World in Haifa port.


October 24


Reactions to Sudan-Israel normalization. Trump announces historic deal. UAE welcomes Sudan decision.


Ynet: Saudi relations are a long way off.


Calcalist; Israel-UAE ties must be based on trust.

Al-Jazeera: Israel won’t oppose US weapon sales to Gulf. “Israel will not oppose the sale of F-35s to the United Arab Emirates, Jerusalem announced on Friday night.The joint announcement by the offices of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz came after Gantz returned from Washington where he met with his US counterpart Mark Esper and signed a deal that ensures Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region.”


Netanyahu and Gantz still have different stories about the F-35 deal.

Saudi ties could come after election.

Israel and Oman discuss ties


Egypt supports Sudan-Israel ties.


October 27

Jpost: Hadassah head in negotiations with UAE to open hospital.

“Israel-UAE peace down under” conversation by Zionist Council of NSW “

We are so excited for our special event this Tuesday with @omaralbusaidy – Author, Dreamer, Scholar, Entrepreneur – from UAE, who will be discussing the historic peace agreement with Israel.” Israel Golan Heights wine to be sold in UAE. TOI: Virtuzone, an Emirates–based firm that helps companies set up operations locally, has formed a joint venture with APEX Holdings, an operator of firms in the UAE. Bloomberg: An Israeli businessman, who’s been operating in the United Arab Emirates’ commercial hub of Dubai for the past 14 years, is in talks to buy Israel’s Israir Airlines, hoping a new normalization pact between the countries will offer an opportunity for expanded operations.


Arab News survey points to support for peace.


Calcalist: “A month after the UAE and Israel signed the historic Abraham Accords, a new cross-business initiative led by Tel-Aviv based consultancy firm Kamir Strategy and UAE-based PR firm Cosmopole has been launched with the goal of connecting Israeli ventures with UAE companies and investors in the field of biomed.”

Breaking Defense: “Our first story from our new Middle East bureau appears below. Riad Kahwaji, perhaps the most respected defense journalist in the region, details for our readers the remarkable progress Israel and the UAE have made in less than six weeks and compares it to the adumbrated results of the 41 years that have passed since Israel and Egypt made peace. You’ll be seeing much more of this sort of excellent coverage for us from Dubai. Read on! The Editor.” He reports: that abdulkhaleq Abdullah, a professor of political science from the UAE, told me. “But the Israelis should be aware that the UAE will not take lightly any attempts to carry out espionage on its territories and will not accept moves to hinder the F-35 deal.”

Newsweek: Seth Frantzman on cementing Israel’s ties with Gulf.

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