Israeli Prime Minister is in Abu Dhabi, UAE, in his first visit since takeover of power. Israel and UAE normalized their ties 16 months ago as part of the controversial Abraham accords. Bennett’s visit is actually the first official presence of an Israeli authority in UAE.
Israeli premiership office issued a statement about the visit explaining some details about the schedule and objectives. According to the statement, the two leaders would talk about widening the relationship between the two countries, particularly on trade and financial matters. “This is the first official visit by an Israeli prime minister to the United Arab Emirates,” the statement further asserted.
Nevertheless, Abu Dhabi refrained from commenting on the information that Bennett’s office provided. UAE has long been suspicious with covert ties with Israel in recent years. The officials, however, kept rejecting the reports about secret security, intelligence and financial ties during the 2010s.
The Abraham Accords was the first step to openly formalize relations between the Israel and UAE. The pact was mediated by the United States under Trump, while the new government in Washington hesitates on its expansion.
The Abraham Accords resulted in a slew of agreements spanning tourism, industry, and modern scientific cooperation. With the inauguration of Dubai Expo 2020, the security and intelligence partnership proved as the main spheres of cooperation.
Israel and UAE signed the agreement on August 13, 2020 when former PM Netanyahu held office in Tel Aviv. Sudan, Morocco, Bahrain, Oman, and Jordan followed the route that UAE opened in the following months. However, little has been the positive outcome of the accord for these nations due to multiple reasons.
UAE and Israel; A Partnership Under Question
Abraham accords resulted in massive popular protests across the Arab world. Ranging from Manama to Masqat and Abu Dhabi, the protesters found the agreement not in line with national interests.
The Arab people also described the accords as a treason to Palestine as a brother nation in the Arab world. Arab nation has always condemned the Israel for what they call the occupation of Palestine in the past seven centuries.
Israel announce its establishment in 1948 following a series of conflicts that followed the decades of land seizure. The Arab countries supported the Palestinian cause due to their right for living in their homeland.
The new U-turn in strategies of some Arab nations followed the political and security evolutions in the Middle East. Since the turn of century, countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain followed a unilateral strategic direction that prioritized national interests over human and community wellbeing. The result has been gradual alienation from conventional commitments to their brother Arab nations.
All these local challenges in the Arab world occur in a condition that Israel is taking more and more credit. Tel Aviv has achieved this goal through reinforcing ties with Arab countries of region.
Bennett’s visit to Abu Dhabi also coincides with the new round of nuclear negotiations between Iran and world powers. Tel Aviv, a Tehran’s arch-foe, has always discredited the talks as a way to deal with Iranian ambitious nuclear program.
The concurrence might be to intensify regional pressures over Iran to put Iran on the weaker side. Having boosted the nuclear program through the past three days, Iran has strong leverages in the talks.
Israel and UAE started from shared spots, but to continue despite deep and philosophical discrepancies might prove more difficult than expected.