Official UAE delegation planning trip to Israel on September 22 — report
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Official UAE delegation planning trip to Israel on September 22 — report

Visit, reported by Reuters, would be first by Emirati officials since normalization agreement was announced last month

An official stands at the door of an Israeli El Al airliner after it landed in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, August 31, 2020. (Nir Elias/Pool Photo via AP)
An official stands at the door of an Israeli El Al airliner after it landed in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, August 31, 2020. (Nir Elias/Pool Photo via AP)

The United Arab Emirates is reportedly planning on sending an official delegation to Israel on September 22, as part of the normalization between the two countries announced last month.

The delegation would be “in reciprocation” for a trip to Abu Dhabi last week by senior Israeli and US officials, a source told the Reuters news agency, which reported the planned visit on Monday.

The report was not immediately confirmed by Israeli authorities.

A source cited by the report said the Israel trip will be confirmed after a date is announced for the signing ceremony in Washington of the Israel-UAE normalization deal, likely in mid-September.

A man wearing a mask bearing the national flags of America, Israel and United Arab Emirates, watches a ceremony after an El Al plane from Israel landed in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Aug. 31, 2020. Nir Elias/Pool via AP)

Israel and the UAE announced on August 13 that they were establishing full diplomatic relations. The UAE is just the third Arab country to agree to official relations with Israel, after Egypt and Jordan. Israeli and American officials have expressed hope that other Gulf Arab countries will soon follow suit, with relations based on mutual commercial and security interests, and shared enmity toward Iran.

Oman, Bahrain, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia are among the countries that Israel and the US hope could follow the UAE in forging diplomatic ties with the Jewish state. But Saudi Arabia has said it will not normalize relations until Israel agrees to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, in keeping with the decades-old stance of most Arab nations.

While the deal to normalize diplomatic relations was announced last month, Israel and the UAE have yet to hash out an actual detailed agreement, which is expected to be signed at the White House ceremony.

Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, led the delegation that visited Abu Dhabi last week on the first-ever direct Israeli flight from Ben Gurion Airport outside Tel Aviv. Also on the trip were US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien and his Israeli counterpart, Meir Ben-Shabbat.

While Israel and the US lauded the delegation’s trip as heralding opportunities for further peace in the region, the Palestinians condemned it as a stab in the back by a major Arab player while they still lack a state of their own.

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