The United Arab Emirates (UAE) approved a diplomatic agreement with Israel?that was signed in Washington last month, just ahead of the UAE government’s official visit to Israel?on Tuesday. The UAE and Bahrain are the first Persian Gulf States to formalize ties with Israel over Iran fears concerning the regime and extremist groups in the country.
“Together the UAE and Israel will stand better prepared to confront the malign threats from the Iranian regime, their proxies, and other extremist groups,” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a recent televised appearance.
The UAE cabinet said the agreement approved Monday would be “an avenue of peace and stability to support the ambitions of the region’s people, and enhance efforts for prosperity and advancement, especially as it paves the way for deepening economic, culture and knowledge ties.”
Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a speech to the parliament that the agreement would “strengthen” the Israeli economy while “help[ing] the citizens of Israel even more.”
Friendly relations between the UAE and Israel have sparked outrage among Palestinians. Some groups are calling the deal “shameful,” arguing that the agreement encourages the occupation to pursue plans to annex the West Bank.
Wasel Abu-Youssef, a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said the visit will enable Israeli forces to commit human rights abuses against the Palestinian people.
“The bilateral agreements that were announced today and the delegations that come and go, all of that offers the occupation a strength to escalate its aggression and its crimes against the Palestinian people and increases its intransigence and arrogance,” said Youssef.
The UAE and Israel signed a deal encouraging bilateral investments between the two countries?on Monday, by offering incentives and protection to investors. On Tuesday, the two countries signed a separate agreement allowing 28 weekly commercial flights to fly between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi.