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UAE's first ambassador to Israel arrives in Tel Aviv

Al Khajah was appointed last month [Getty[

Date of publication: 1 March, 2021

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Ambassador Mohammad Mahmoud Al Khajah is scheduled to meet with top Israeli officials including Prime Minister Netanyahu.
The UAE's first ever ambassador to Israel arrived in the country on Monday for a three-day official visit, including a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Mohammad Mahmoud Al Khajah is scheduled to meet with Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and President Reuven Rivlin later on Monday.

A visit to the president's house will be marked with an official ceremony in which Al Khajah will present his diplomatic credentials.

"For Emiratis and Israelis, a new chapter of openness, understanding and prosperity is beginning. Looking forward to my first visit. See you next week. Shabbat Shalom," the ambassador tweeted on Friday.

The Emirati ambassador arrived in a private jet at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion international airport, local media reported.

The airport has been closed to most Israeli travellers for more than a month, with Israel's borders scheduled to be closed until March 6 with an exception for "urgent" reasons.

In keeping with Israeli government restrictions, Al Khajah took a Covid-19 test and will remain in a hotel until he receives a negative test result.

He is scheduled to meet with Netanyahu on Tuesday.

The visit comes after Israel and the United Arab Emirates agreed to normalise ties last summer.

A Trump administration diplomatic push saw Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan also make the move last year.

The normalisation agreements between Israel and Arab states have been widely condemned in Arabic-speaking and Muslim-majority countries, where relations with Israel have long been eschewed out of solidarity with the Palestinians.

Al Khajah will also scout possible locations for the UAE's embassy in Israel during his visit.

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