(DUBAI, United Arab Emirates) — The ruler of the United Arab Emirates issued a decree Saturday formally ending the nation’s boycott of Israel amid a U.S.-brokered deal to normalize relations between the 2 nations.
The announcement now permits commerce and commerce between the UAE, dwelling to oil-rich Abu Dhabi and skyscraper-studded Dubai, and Israel, dwelling to a thriving diamond commerce, pharmaceutical corporations and tech start-ups.
The announcement additional cements the Aug 13 deal opening up relations between the 2 nations, which required Israel to halt its contentious plan to annex occupied West Financial institution land sought by the Palestinians. However Palestinians up to now have criticized the accord as undercutting one in every of its few bargaining chips with Israelis in moribund peace negotiations.
The state-run WAM information company mentioned the decree formally ending the boycott got here on the orders of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the ruler of Abu Dhabi and the Emirates’ chief.
WAM mentioned the brand new decree permits Israelis and Israeli corporations to do enterprise within the UAE, a U.S.-allied federation of seven sheikhdoms on the Arabian Peninsula. It additionally permits for the acquisition and commerce of Israeli items.
“The decree of the brand new legislation comes inside the UAE’s efforts to develop diplomatic and business cooperation with Israel,” WAM mentioned. It lays out “a roadmap towards launching joint cooperation, resulting in bilateral relations by stimulating financial development and selling technological innovation.”
Already, some Israeli corporations had signed offers with Emirati counterparts. However the repeal of the legislation widens the probability of different joint ventures, resembling in aviation or in banking and finance.
Dubai Worldwide Airport, dwelling to the long-haul provider Emirates, has been the world’s busiest for worldwide journey for years. The Dubai Worldwide Monetary Heart additionally hosts main corporations who commerce within the hours between Asian and European markets. Dubai already has a serious gold market and rising diamond commerce.
Emirati corporations doubtless additionally need to entry Israeli technological know-how. Some already had even earlier than the deal — with the cybersecurity agency DarkMatter reportedly hiring Israeli military-trained hackers.
On Monday, the primary direct business flight by Israel’s flagship provider El Al is anticipated in Abu Dhabi, carrying U.S. and Israeli officers together with President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Phone calls already will be made between the nations.
The decree formally eliminates a 1972 legislation on the UAE’s books since simply after the nation’s formation. That legislation mirrored the extensively held stance by Arab nations at the moment that recognition of Israel would solely come after the Palestinians had an unbiased state of their very own.
Hanan Ashrawi, a senior Palestinian official, criticized the UAE’s decree Saturday as undercutting the efforts of the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions motion focusing on Israel. Israel has accused BDS activists of looking for to delegitimize its existence.
“Whereas (hashtag)BDS is proving to be an efficient instrument of peaceable resistance & accountable, moral funding & client duty to carry Israel to account, this occurs!” Ashrawi wrote on Twitter.
Hamas, the Islamic militant group governing the Gaza Strip since seizing it in 2007, has reiterated its rejection of the UAE-Israel deal and the ending of the boycott.
The decree “boosts the normalization with the Israeli occupation and legitimizes it on the Palestinian land,” Hamas official Bassem Naim mentioned.
The decree reveals the UAE’s eagerness to advance ties and maximize its potential advantages resembling commerce amid an financial slowdown, mentioned Elham Fakhro, the senior Gulf analyst on the Worldwide Disaster Group.
“The choice sends a transparent message that the UAE is dedicated to its choice to normalize relations with Israel,” Fakhro mentioned. “It does additionally elevate questions on potential repercussions for anybody within the nation calling for the boycott of Israeli items, now that doing so contradicts the state coverage.”
The UAE is turning into the third Arab nation after Egypt and Jordan to presently have diplomatic relations with Israel. Nonetheless, whereas widespread public mistrust of Israel persists in these nations, the UAE by no means fought a conflict in opposition to Israel, nor did it have a historic Jewish inhabitants.
In recent times, the UAE has held quiet talks with Israel and allowed Israelis with second passports into the nation for commerce and talks. Opening ties can also assist the Emirates entry superior American weaponry, just like the F-35 fighter jet that proper now solely Israel flies within the Mideast.
Sheikh Khalifa has dominated the UAE since 2004. He suffered a stroke on Jan. 24, 2014, and underwent emergency surgical procedure. He has been hardly ever seen since in public, although state media usually publishes photographs of him round Islamic holidays.
Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has served because the UAE’s day-to-day ruler since Sheikh Khalifa’s stroke. Sheikh Mohammed has centered on rising the Emirates’ army may amid his suspicions of Iran — an enmity shared by Israel.
Whereas Sheikh Khalifa holds the title of president, the UAE is ruled by autocratic sheikhs. Abu Dhabi, because the nation’s oil-rich capital, has grown more and more highly effective for the reason that UAE’s founding in 1971 regardless of every sheikhdom largely governing its personal affairs.
The decree comes after a visit by the Mideast in latest days by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who hoped to construct on the UAE-Israel deal.
The accord additionally got here as a serious overseas coverage win to Trump as he campaigns forward of the November election in opposition to Democratic candidate Joe Biden. Each Israel and the UAE have considered the Republican president as an ally.
Related Press author Fares Akram in Gaza Metropolis, Gaza Strip, contributed to this report.