On Tuesday, following a U.S. brokered agreement, the first ever official delegation from the United Arab Emirates left for Israel with the two countries looking to broaden ties and normalise relations.
According to Israeli officials, the visit will be largely restricted to the airport given concerns revolving around the coronavirus-induced COVID-19 pandemic.
The development comes in the wake of Bahrain becoming the first Arab states to signs deals to establish formal ties with Israel in September 2020, a move that the United States and its allies have said will bring about regional stability and peace, which however have been rejected by the Palestinians.
The UAE delegation is led by Economy Minister Abdullah bin Touq al-Mari and Minister of State for Financial Affairs Obaid Humaid al-Tayer, said a spokeswoman for the UAE’s foreign ministry; joining them is U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Middle East envoy Ari Berkowitz.
Since mid-August Israel and the UAE have already signed several commercial deals after they announced the establishment of full relations. Incidentally, both countries are expected to sign a mutual visa-exemption agreement, which will be Israel’s first with an Arab country.