Despite running into choppy waters recently, the United Arab Emirates is cruising along the path of normalisation with Israel with Abu Dhabi expected to open its embassy in the occupation state on Wednesday.
The location of the embassy is the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange building and not Jerusalem, which Israel considers its capital city and has been campaigning vigorously to get international recognition for. The vast majority of countries however have rejected this claim.A ceremony, hosted by UAE’s Ambassador to Israel, Mohammed Al Khaja, will reportedly include a reception, flag raising, ribbon-cutting ceremony, and VIP tour. Israel’s President, Isaac Herzog, will be in attendance.
Israel opened its embassy in the Emirati capital in late June. Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid inaugurated the Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Israeli consulate in Dubai during a two-day visit.
The embassy opening in Tel Aviv comes as relations between the UAE and Saudi Arabia began to sour over recent weeks in part due to Abu Dhabi’s tight embrace of the occupation state. Saudi Arabia last week announced an amendment to rules governing imports from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, in what is being seen as a bid to challenge the UAE’s status as the region’s trade and business hub. The rule change will mean that goods made in free zones within the UAE or with Israeli involvement will be affected adversely.
The so-called Abraham Accords, outlining details of the normalisation of relations between Israel and several Arab countries, negotiated under former US President Donald Trump, has also faced a number of setbacks.
The Abraham Fund, part of the economic component of the Abraham Accord set up to “inject more than $3 billion into the development investment market in the private sector to promote economic cooperation and to encourage prosperity in the Middle East and beyond,” was frozen by the administration of President Joe Biden.
A month earlier US sale of F-35 jets and drones to the UAE, a major reason why the Gulf state normalised ties with Israel last year, was put into question over Abu Dhabi’s close relations with China.