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UAE envoy says Israel 'feels a lot like Dubai'

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - MARCH 01: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY – MANDATORY CREDIT - "ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTRY / HANDOUT" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) The first ambassador of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Israel Mohammad Mahmoud Al Khaja (L) meets Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi (R) upon his arrival in Tel Aviv, Israel on March 01, 2021. The first ambassador of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Israel arrived in Tel Aviv on Monday after the two countries agreed to normalize their relations. ( Israeli Foreign Ministry - Anadolu Agency )
The first ambassador of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Israel Mohammad Mahmoud Al Khaja (L) meets Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi (R) upon his arrival in Tel Aviv, Israel on March 01, 2021 [Israeli Foreign Ministry - Anadolu Agency]

The first UAE ambassador to Israel completed his preliminary visit of the country today after meeting with the top leadership and searching for suitable locations for the embassy and his home.

Mohammad Mahmoud Al Khaja arrived in Tel Aviv after the two countries controversially agreed last September to normalise relations.

"Thanks for the warm greeting Tel Aviv-Yafo," he tweeted. "Feels a lot like Abu Dhabi and Dubai – dynamic and diverse cities set along the water."

The ambassador also repeated the same tweet in Hebrew.

 

Al Khaja is scheduled to leave Israel on Wednesday to return later to take up his duties after locating the Abu Dhabi Embassy in Tel Aviv, according to the official Israeli Broadcasting Corporation.

He arrived in Israel on Monday and submitted his diplomatic credentials to President Reuven Rivlin. In a separate meeting, he also met with Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.

On Tuesday he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who told him: "We are changing the Middle East, we are changing the world."

Last month, Al Khaja was sworn in as the UAE's ambassador to Israel.

In 2020, the UAE and Israel agreed to establish full diplomatic, cultural and commercial relations following the signing of the Abraham Accords.

Since then Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco have all agreed to establish ties with the occupation state of Israel in deals brokered by the administration of former US President Donald Trump.

The Palestinian leadership condemned the establishment of ties with the occupation as a "treacherous stab to the Palestinian cause".

Israel has since appointed Eitan Na'eh to head a temporary mission in Abu Dhabi until a permanent envoy is assigned.

Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi have also signed treaties on direct flights and visa-free travel, along with accords on investment protection, science and technology.

READ: UAE's 1st ambassador to Israel submits credentials

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