Dubai Ports World Chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said yesterday that Europe and the Middle East could be linked via Israel.
"Israel is a logical and strategic linking point, as Israeli ports allow the operations of Dubai Ports World between Europe and the Middle East," Sulayem added, during a conference on the future of digital economy in the Emirates and Israel on the sidelines of the GITEX exhibition held in Dubai.
Dubai Ports World operates Dubai's largest transhipment port in the Middle East, and has shipment activities in Europe, including in the UK and the Netherlands.
Sulayem expects the initial volume of bilateral trade between the UAE and Israel to reach $5 billion.
Last September, Dubai Ports World partnered with the Israeli company Dovertower to launch a direct shipping line between Dubai and Eilat, in addition to an agreement to submit a joint proposal to privatise Haifa port on the Mediterranean Sea.
"The ports [of Israel] will allow us to connect our ports in Europe with the Middle East," Sulayem said at the conference.
The agreement was met with widespread Palestinian condemnation, as the Palestinian factions and leadership considered it a "betrayal" by the Emirates and a "stab" in the back of the Palestinian people.