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Cargo ship arrives after stop in UAE in tandem with 1st step to ratify accord

Docking in Haifa of MSC PARIS signals start of weekly route that will include the Emirates on way to Israel

MSC PARIS nearing Haifa port October 11, 2020. (Geodrones)
MSC PARIS nearing Haifa port October 11, 2020. (Geodrones)

A cargo ship from the United Arab Emirates docked at Haifa port on Monday, as the cabinet voted to send the peace treaty between Israel and the UAE for approval to the Knesset.

The Knesset is expected to debate and vote on the “Treaty of Peace, Diplomatic Relations and Full Normalization Between the United Arab Emirates and the State of Israel” on Thursday.

A statement released by the Haifa port said the MSC PARIS arrived as the sun rose Monday morning.

The Liberian-flagged cargo ship used to run from India to Haifa, with stopovers in various Mediterranean ports.

However, the ship will now have a new destination before reaching Israel, bringing “weekly shipments from the Emirates” along with other cargo ships from the east that will make similar stops in the UAE, the statement said.

MSC PARIS nearing Haifa port October 11, 2020. (Geodrones)

The MSC PARIS was laden with iron, firefighting equipment, cleaning equipment, electronics, and other cargo, according to the statement.

Eshel Armoni, chairman of the board of directors of the Haifa Port Company, hailed the ship’s arrival as an exciting and historic event, saying, “It is symbolic that the first ship with cargo from the Emirates arrives exactly at the same time as the approval of the historic agreement by the Israeli government.”

The UAE on August 13 announced that it had agreed to normalize relations with Israel in exchange for Jerusalem suspending its plans to unilaterally annex parts of the West Bank. Senior UAE officials have since stressed that the move enjoys great support among the country’s population, even saying that they were “enthusiastic” about peace with Israel.

The UAE-Israel agreement was signed on September 15 at the White House. Bahrain, a small island nation traditionally close to the UAE, also announced that it was normalizing ties with Israel, though no formal peace treaty has been signed yet.

MSC PARIS nearing Haifa ports October 11, 2020. (Geodrones)

No date has been given as to when Israel is expected to finalize its normalization agreement with Bahrain, but an Israeli delegation flew to the Gulf state last month to hammer out the details of the deal.

Several other Arab states have been named as countries that could be next to normalize ties with Israel, most notably Sudan.

Raphael Ahren contributed to this report

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