United Arab Emirates and Israel to sign agreements related to aviation, investment security, science and technology.
The visit of a United Arab Emirates delegation to Israel has been accused by Palestinian officials of being “shameful”.
The delegation was welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Kofi Ashkenazi and Finance Minister Israel Gaddafi at Ben Gurion Airport on Tuesday.
Israeli organizers said the five-hour visit would be limited to an airport near Tel Aviv due to corona virus concerns, which comes after the two countries signed an agreement at the White House last month to normalize relations.
The visit will see the signing of several agreements.
Wasel Abu Youssef, an executive member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said the visit would only confirm Israeli forces’ crimes against the Palestinians.
“The bilateral agreements announced today, both the coming and going delegates, provide an aggression to expand its aggression and crimes against the Palestinian people and to increase its antagonism and arrogance,” Youssef said.
Speaking in Ramallah on the Israeli-occupied West Bank, he said the comments came as Israel was expanding its illegal settlement efforts.
In the besieged Gaza Strip, Hamas spokesman Hashim Qassem said: “Such a visit would encourage the occupation to continue to gradually annex the West Bank.”
On social media, Palestinians have denied the “double standards” of the visa exemption rule for Emirati citizens, noting that they are not allowed to move freely within the occupied Palestinian territories.
Under Israel’s color-coded identification system, Palestinians in the occupied West Bank are not allowed to travel into the Gaza Strip, and vice versa. If Palestinian Jerusalems live in other occupied territories, their residence rights will be revoked.
With more than six million Palestinian refugees scattered around the world, Israel has not been allowed to return to their homeland even for a single visit.
The Palestinian leadership has described the normalization agreements between the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, respectively, as “stabbing in the back” and betraying the cause.
According to Hend Al-Otaiba, Director of Strategic Communications at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, the delegation was led by Minister of Finance Obaid Al-Dyer and Minister of Economy Abdullah bin Touk Al-Marri.
According to the Israeli government, the two sides will sign agreements on aviation, investment security and science and technology.
As their economies have been hit hard by the corona virus epidemic, the United Arab Emirates and Israel expect a quick dividend from their normalization agreement, which has broken the Arab consensus for years that there should be no ties with Israel until it makes peace with the Palestinians.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has said that the two countries have agreed to a visa-free travel arrangement, making Emirati citizens number one in the Arab world, which does not require Israeli entry visas.
The two governments are set to sign an agreement authorizing 28 commercial flights a week between the countries, an Israeli Ministry of Transportation official said.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Munuchin, who attended a business dinner with Emirati and Israeli officials in Abu Dhabi on Monday, accompanied the delegation on an Etihad Airways flight.
He had earlier held talks with senior Emirati officials on “promising opportunities for cooperation between the two countries,” according to the UAE’s official WAM news agency.
On September 15, the United Arab Emirates and Israel signed a US brokerage agreement, the first such agreement with the Gulf state.
Following a similar US brokerage agreement, Bahrain followed suit and entered into an agreement known as the Abraham Accords.
Following the Israeli peace agreement with Egypt in 1979 and the 1994 agreement with Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are the third and fourth Arab countries to normalize relations with Israel.
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