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Historic step forward in Abraham Accords as UAE inaugurates embassy in Israel

New UAE Ambassador says opening “marks a new paradigm for peace and a model for a new collaborative approach for conflict resolution”

UAE Ambassador to Israel Mohamed Al Khaja and Israeli President Isaac Herzog at the opening ceremony of the UAE embassy in Tel Aviv, July 14, 2021. (Photo: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The United Arab Emirates formally opened an embassy in Israel on Wednesday marking another step in the historic unfolding of the Abraham Accords.

The UAE embassy was inaugurated in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange building – a symbolic choice representing the vast economic cooperation between the two nations – during an official ceremony.

“This embassy is not just a hub for diplomats, but a base to continue in our new partnership,” UAE Ambassador Mohamed Al Khaja said. “It marks a new paradigm for peace and a model for a new collaborative approach for conflict resolution.”

“It is a great honor to open the embassy here. Ten months ago our two countries signed the Abraham Accords with a vision of dignity, prosperity and peace for the two peoples,” Khaja said. “This is just the beginning. Both countries are innovative nations and we will harness these new approaches for the prosperity of the countries.”

Israel’s new president, Isaac Herzog, was present for the ceremony. Herzog, who was inaugurated last week, called this an “important step for the entire Middle East.”

“To see the Emirati flag in the skies of Tel Aviv would have seemed a distant dream,” Herzog said. “Today it is a reality.”

Herzog thanked UAE leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed and former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for making this possible.

The ceremony ended with Khaja opening trading at the stock exchange.

Former Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and UAE Minister of Food and Water Security Mariam Almheiri, who is currently visiting the country, were both present as well.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid could not attend the event as he was in quarantine after one of his aides tested positive for the coronavirus. He was later released when the aide received two negative tests.

But Lapid, who inaugurated the Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi and a consulate in Dubai two weeks ago, tweeted that the UAE embassy opening was a “historic day.”

“We will continue to expand the circle of peace and normalization,” he wrote.

Lapid is the highest-level Israeli official to ever visit the Gulf state.

In August, Israel and the UAE announced normalization of ties and in September Israel, the UAE and Bahrain signed the Abraham Accords peace agreement, brokered by the U.S. and former President Donald Trump. Morocco and Sudan later joined as well.

Bahrain, which appointed its first ambassador to Israel in March, has announced its intention to open an embassy in Israel as well.

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Nicole Jansezian is the news editor for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and senior correspondent for ALL ISRAEL NEWS

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