The UAE is expected to begin importing Israeli fruit and vegetables this month, Israel’s Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry has announced.
Official authorisation is said to have been granted last Thursday following a series of meetings and coordination between Minister Alon Schuster, ministry employees and the UAE’s Ministry for Climate Change and the Environment.
“This is wonderful news for Israel’s farmers,” Schuster is reported as saying by the Jerusalem Post. “The agreement that we signed with the UAE is moving us forward and into a joint future in the field of agriculture.”
With UAE agricultural imports valued at around $10 billion a year, this latest agreement — which is a result of the normalisation deal signed in August — is highly lucrative for the occupation state. Abu Dhabi defended the decision to normalise relations with Israel by claiming that it had prevented further illegal annexation of the occupied West Bank. Israel has denied making such a promise.
Indeed, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted that the planned annexation of 30 per cent of the occupied West Bank has merely been postponed. This was confirmed last week by a US envoy who also said that annexation had been delayed until Arab-Israel normalisation deals are complete.
According to the Jerusalem Post, Schuster has demanded bigger budgets for agriculture so that Israel can take a greater share of the UAE demand for fresh produce.
At the moment, the UAE does not appear to be taking any measures to ensure that fruit and vegetables imported from Israel are not produced in the illegal settlements across the occupied Palestinian territories.
Last week it was reported that Israeli wine produced in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is to be sold in the Emirates.