DUBAI – The ruler of the United Arab Emirates issued a decree on Saturday formally ending the nation’s boycott of Israel amid a deal brokered by the United States to normalize relations between the two countries.
The announcement enables trade between the UAE, which includes Abu Dhabi’s oil wealth and the financial center of Dubai, and Israel, home to a thriving diamond trade, pharmaceutical and technology companies.
The pact that spans relations between Israel and the UAE was announced on August 13. It demands that Israel suspend its controversial plan to annex the occupied territory of the West Bank intended by the Palestinians for their future state.
The official WAM news agency reported that Saturday’s move to formally end the boycott is taken on the orders of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the ruler of Abu Dhabi and the head of the Emirati government.
WAM indicated that the new decree allows Israeli citizens and companies to do business in the UAE, a federation of seven independent city-states on the Arabian Peninsula. It also allows the purchase and marketing of products from Israel.
“The decree of the new law is given as part of the UAE’s efforts to expand diplomatic and trade cooperation with Israel,” WAM announced. It draws “a roadmap towards the creation of a joint cooperation, which will lead to bilateral relations through the stimulation of economic growth and the promotion of technological innovation.”
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On Monday, the first direct commercial flight of the main Israeli airline, El Al, is expected to arrive in Abu Dhabi, carrying Israeli and US officials, including President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
The decree formally removes a 1972 law in force in the UAE from the period immediately after the country’s formation. The law reflected the position widely held by the Arab nations at the time, which stated that recognition of Israel would only come after the Palestinians had their own independent state.
The UAE becomes the third Arab nation, after Egypt and Jordan, to currently maintain diplomatic relations with Israel.
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