The first ever ambassador of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Israel, Mohammed al-Hajj, arrived in Tel Aviv on March 1 to perform his duties.
The diplomat was sworn in as the kingdom's ambassador to Israel earlier on February 14th.
In January, an Israeli embassy was opened in the UAE.
“Today I arrived in Tel Aviv as the first UAE Ambassador to the State of Israel and met with His Excellency Gabi Ashkenazi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel, to discuss bilateral relations between our countries, which have been strengthening since the signing of the Abrahamic Accords, as well as to increase cooperation in various fields. ", - wrote Muhammad al-Hajj on Twitter.
Muhammad al-Hajja sworn in as UAE Ambassador to Israel
According to the Al-Arabiya channel, at a meeting with Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi in Jerusalem, Muhammad al-Hajja noted that it is a great honor for him to be the first UAE ambassador to Israel, where, according to him, he and the host country discussed the "model of cooperation".
“My mission is to nurture and develop relations between our countries ... and we hope this will help bring peace and prosperity to the people of the Middle East,” he said.
Recall that the UAE and Israel established diplomatic relations at a ceremony in Washington on September 15 last year.
The rapprochement took place within the framework of the so-called "Agreement of Abraham".
The condition for the signing of the document on the part of Abu Dhabi was the consent of the Israeli side to suspend its expansion in the Palestinian territories.
This was then stated by the UAE State Minister of Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash.
“The United Arab Emirates was able to achieve Israel's agreement to suspend the annexation of the Palestinian territories in order to support efforts to achieve a two-state solution,” the minister said.
Note that the Israeli government ratified the visa-free agreement between Israel and the UAE back in November.
In turn, Abu Dhabi began issuing tourist visas to Israeli citizens in December.
The improvement of relations between Israel and the UAE took place with the active mediation of the Donald Trump administration.
On August 13, 2020, the politician who was then head of the White House announced on Twitter that the kingdom and the Jewish state were ready to sign a peace treaty.
Soon, a statement was published by the United States, Israel and the UAE on the normalization of relations between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi, as well as a similar statement on the normalization of relations between Israel and Bahrain.
In September, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Ministers of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Abdel Latif al-Zayani signed an agreement to normalize relations.
The ceremony took place at the White House in the presence of Donald Trump.
The signing of the Abrahamic Accords between the UAE, Bahrain and Israel in September 2020 at the White House
© REUTERS / Tom Brenner
Saudi Arabia, a neighbor and military partner of the UAE and Bahrain, is in no hurry to establish diplomatic relations with Israel.
However, in 2020, Riyadh opened an air route over the territory of the kingdom for aircraft traveling from the UAE to Israel and back.
Earlier, in January 2020, the Israeli authorities allowed their citizens to visit Saudi Arabia.
The Trump administration hoped that Riyadh would also join the Abrahamic Accords.
This call was made in October 2020 by Mike Pompeo, then the US Secretary of State.
The head of the State Department expressed the hope that Saudi Arabia will consider the possibility of normalizing relations with Israel after talks with his Saudi counterpart Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.
Following the UAE and Bahrain, Sudan joined the Abrahamic Accords.
This became known in October 2020.
Khartoum officially announced the normalization of relations with the Israeli side in January 2021.
The fourth country from the League of Arab States (LAS) to agree to establish diplomatic relations with Israel is Morocco.
Shortly before this, the US authorities recognized the country's sovereignty over Western Sahara.
According to experts, one of the motives for the rapprochement of the Arab countries with Israel was the tensions with Iran.
“This factor pushed the Arab countries to establish relations with Israel, for which Iran is a key enemy.
However, this step by several Arab countries caused a split in the Muslim world - not all Arab states agreed to Trump's terms.
Today, Syria, Lebanon, Algeria, Iran and a number of Palestinian groups continue to confront Israel, "Boris Dolgov, a leading researcher at the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, explained in a commentary to RT.
Nevertheless, the conclusion of the Abrahamic agreements was a very positive event for Israel, which is now not opposed by the entire Arab-Muslim world, the expert added.
Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman
© Saudi Royal Cour
"Israel has pledged to suspend the annexation of the Palestinian territories while this is being implemented," Dolgov recalled.
A similar point of view is shared by Alexander Krylov, a leading researcher at the Center for Middle East Studies at MGIMO.
“The tense relations with Iran have become a rapprochement factor for Israel and a number of Arab countries.
As for the United States, the American leadership has long pursued such a bloc policy in an effort to bring its regional partners closer together.
And the United States tried to make sure that Israel ceased to be a regional outcast, and took an equal position in the Middle East, ”the expert noted.
An important aspect of American politics
Trump's political rival, Democrat Joe Biden, pledged to change Washington's Middle East course during the 2020 election campaign.
During the pre-election debate, the politician said that if he won, he would stop selling arms to Riyadh and make the leaders of the kingdom "outcasts."
After his inauguration, Biden re-announced changes in Washington's policy towards Riyadh.
The 46th President of the United States said this in an interview with Univision.
In February, the director of US National Intelligence released a report on the 2018 assassination of Jamal Hashukji in Istanbul.
The document claimed that the journalist was killed with the approval of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad bin Salman.
© US Air Force / Staff Sgt.
Cory D. Payne
After the publication, the State Department imposed visa restrictions on 76 Saudi Arabians "who are suspected of threatening activities directed against dissidents abroad, including, among other things, the assassination of Khashukji."
“While the US remains focused on maintaining relations with Saudi Arabia, President Biden has made it clear that this partnership must reflect American values,” Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in a statement.
At the same time, the White House did not impose sanctions against the Saudi Crown Prince personally.
As White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki explained in an interview with CNN, there are other "effective ways," and while US relations with Saudi Arabia will be adjusted, it is in American interests to maintain them.
Relations between the United States and the UAE are also in decline.
For example, in January, the media reported that the Biden administration was studying the procurement of American weapons in Abu Dhabi, including the supply of advanced F-35 fighters to the kingdom.
The suspension of a number of arms deals was confirmed by the State Department.
Also in early February, it became known about the intention of the new administration to revise Trump's decision to abolish import duties on aluminum supplied from the UAE.
We are talking about tariffs of 10%.
However, experts doubt that the Joe Biden administration will decide to seriously change the US Middle East course and take drastic measures in relation to regional partners.
"The Palestinian-Israeli track of American policy will not change, on the whole the previous course will remain," said Alexander Krylov.
Boris Dolgov adheres to a similar point of view.
According to the expert, Washington will continue to follow the line in the Middle East, which was laid more than a decade ago - with an emphasis on partnership with the monarchies of the Persian Gulf and Israel.
Israel's rapprochement with Arab countries will also continue with the support of the United States, since it is beneficial to the Israeli side and Washington, the expert said.
“Support for Israel, partnership with it is one of the important aspects of American foreign policy.
Biden will also continue this course.
As for relations with Arab countries, the Syrian and Yemeni conflicts continue in the region, and a difficult situation remains in Libya.
These issues remain in Washington's focus.
And Israel's rapprochement with Arab countries to some extent reduces the level of regional tension, "Dolgov summed up.