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The New Arab Staff

At least 130,000 Israelis have visited the UAE since normalisation

Dubai has been a holiday hotspot during the pandemic [Getty]

Date of publication: 2 February, 2021

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At least 130,000 Israelis visited the UAE since the two countries normalised ties and signed an agreement in September.
At least 130,000 Israelis have visited the UAE since a normalisation agreement was signed between the two countries in September, according to WAM, the UAE's official news agency.

Eitan Naih, the head of the Israeli mission in Abu Dhabi, said around 50,000 visited the UAE per month during the winter season.

This number is expected to increase after both countries complete their coronavirus vaccination programmes.

"The existence of an air corridor that led to the shipment of goods between the two parties within hours while imports and exports take around 16 days by sea," he said.

Naih acknowledged the "the geographical reality that the UAE is located in the eastern Arabian Peninsula, and Israel is in western Asia, may create a corridor that starts to all parts of the world".

The ambassador explained that "the business communities in Israel and the UAE are currently seeking to enhance trade cooperation between the two countries". 

Read also: Delegation from illegal Israeli settlements meet with Dubai businessmen

"The advantages enjoyed by the two countries will add value to this cooperation, as Israel has trade agreements with the United States and the European Union, while the UAE is considered a gateway to the eastern markets."

Naih added that Israel has identified 29 sectors for cooperation with the UAE and has signed eight bilateral agreements

Occupation and police state

In August, US President Donald Trump announced the UAE had become the third Arab country and first Gulf Arab state to normalise ties with Israel, with Bahrain and Sudan following suit.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country is in talks with other Arab and Muslim leaders about normalising relations.

While the UAE and other Arab states have rushed to embrace Israel, opinion among Arab populations remains strongly against normalisation.

A poll published Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS) in early October showed that an overwhelming majority of 88 percent of Arabs reject normalisation with Israel.

Israel, which for decades has claimed to be "the only democracy in the Middle East", has supplied spyware technology to the UAE.

Ambiguous anti-terror and cybercrime laws have been used to target critics of the regime and dissidents. Websites critical of the regime's human rights record have been blocked in the country.

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