Israeli President on his first visit to the UAE amid regional tensions

Dubai, United Arab Emirates — The Israeli chief met the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi on Sunday on his first official visit to the United Arab Emirates by the head of state. region.

United Arab Emirates and Israel normalized relations in the fall of 2020. It is part of a series of US-mediated diplomatic agreements between Israel and Arab countries that have long avoided formal relations with Israel in decades of conflict with Palestinians.

President Isaac Herzog met with Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Binzaid Arnachan, the de facto leader of Emirati. The United Arab Emirates state-run WAM news agency explained the royal welcome to Israeli leaders at the palace, with the Israeli national anthem ringing and the 21-gun salute ringing.

During more than two hours of talks, Herzog urged more countries in the region to participate in Israeli approval and condemned the recent aerial attack on Abu Dhabi claimed by Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

“We want to emphasize that we fully support your security requirements and condemn attacks in all forms and languages ​​against your sovereignty,” Herzog told Sheikh Mohammed.

Herzog also met with members of the country’s small but growing Jewish expatriate community and visited Expo 2020, a world exposition in Dubai, where Israel hosted a series of events at its National Pavilion on Monday. ..

The president plays a predominantly ceremonial role as a national uniter in the Israeli parliamentary system, in which the prime minister has the most power. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett made his first official visit to the Emirates of the Gulf Arabs last month to discuss strengthening relations with Sheikh Mohammed in many ways.

Epoch Times Photo
Israeli President Isaac Herzog (R) and Mrs. Michal Herzog were greeted by UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Binzaid Arnachan on January 30, 2022 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Amos Ben Gershom / GPO via AP).

Media coverage of both Herzog and Bennett’s dictatorial trip to the United Arab Emirates is tightly controlled. Emirati authorities have not invited journalists to the palace where the conference will be held or planned a press conference. News from the visit only surfaced through a careful statement in the state media. Israel, a parliamentary democracy, does not allow Israel-based journalists to participate in the trips of either leader.

Shortly before takeoff, Herzog said he aimed to visit “a message of peace from Israel to the United Arab Emirates and all the people of the region.”

The Israeli-Emirati cooperation show comes at a delicate time for the Middle East.

Yemen’s seven-year civil war battle has intensified and expanded to reach the soil of Emirati for the first time this month. Iranian-backed rebels fighting a Saudi-led coalition have alleged drone and missile attacks on Abu Dhabi. One killed three workers in an industrial area and the other intercepted and scattered missile debris in the capital.

The assault shocked the population and destroyed the pervasive sense of security in the region’s globalized business hubs. The Houthis is threatening further strikes this week.

Sheikh Mohammed told Helzok at the meeting that Israel’s stance on the Houthi attack on the UAE “shows our common view of the threat to regional stability and peace, especially the threat of the militia.”

Meanwhile, negotiations in Vienna between world powers and Iran to curb Tehran’s rapidly expanding nuclear program were suspended on Friday, and European officials said the negotiations were nearing a “final stage.” Former President Donald Trump, welcomed by Israel and the US Gulf Arab allies, withdrew the United States from the nuclear deal almost four years ago and imposed strict sanctions on Iran.

Iran’s common hostility and mutual fear of its nuclear program helped the UAE and Israel help formalize the relationship after years of secret relations.

Associated Press