Israel will in the next few days send a diplomat to Abu Dhabi to set up a temporary mission in the United Arab Emirates as a prelude to establishing a permanent embassy, the Kan public broadcaster reported Tuesday.
Eitan Na’eh, the former ambassador to Turkey, will become the first Israeli to have full diplomatic status in the Gulf state following the normalization of ties with Israel last year.
He will head the temporary mission for several months until an ambassador is appointed, according to the report.
Na’eh served as envoy to Turkey from 2016 to 2018 until he was expelled by Ankara in protest to the deaths of dozens on Palestinians in violent clashes with Israeli forces on the border with the Gaza Strip.
Israel established diplomatic ties with the UAE and Bahrain in September as part of a US-brokered agreement known as the Abraham Accords. Since then, the Jewish state has reached an agreement to open reciprocal embassies with both countries, and Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani visited Israel in November.
In addition to the two Gulf states, Israel has recently also reached normalization agreements with Sudan and Morocco.
Israel and Turkey have not exchanged ambassadors since the falling-out in May 2018.
After violent protests on the Gaza border in which over 60 Palestinians, most of them members of Hamas and other terror groups, were killed, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan placed the blame for the deaths squarely on Israel, calling it a “terrorist state” that commits “genocide.”
Turkey then recalled its ambassador and expelled Israel’s ambassador, Na’eh.
In December, an al-Monitor report said that Turkey has picked a new ambassador to Israel in a move to court favor with the incoming Biden administration in the US. It was not immediately clear if Israel was set to send an ambassador back to Turkey.