UAE open to importing 'Israeli products from settlements': official
UAE official says country has 'no problem' with 'Israeli products' from West Bank
The UAE official claimed Israel’s factories in occupied territories employ "tens of thousands of Palestinians".
Dubai's head of Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Hamad Buamim, said this week that the UAE has no issues importing Israeli products even if they are manufactured in the occupied West Bank, Israeli media outlets have reported.
Buamim claimed that trading Israeli products, wherever they are produced, will help boost the Palestinian economy by employing local workers in Israeli factories, despite this being on occupied land.
"We are an open market in every sense of the word, and that means the broader the trade is and the more it is able to help various populations in the region, the better," Buamim told Israeli outlet Globes in Hebrew, according to The Israel Times.
In an interview with the Hebrew-language Globes newspaper, Buamim said the UAE will not "make a distinction" in imports from "Israel" - regardless whethey they are from Israel or the occupied Palestinian territories and Syria's Golan Heights.
Both these regions are considered occupied land according to international law.
The outlet cited Buamim commenting that trade projects with Israel intend to contribute to the development of the entire region, "especially territories under the control of the Palestinian Authority".
"The advantages of the current [normalisation] agreements and those that will come for the Palestinians are particularly great, and they have the potential to make the necessary change in the area," Buamim was quoted as saying.
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Israeli firms secured lucrative business deals with the UAE after the two states normalisd relations in September, including one company that will allegedly import food products made in the occupied West Bank.
Israel has illegally occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem since a war with neighbouring Arab countries in 1967. It has also annexed East Jerusalem.
Thousands of Israeli settlement homes have been constructed in the occupied West Bank, which are classed as illegal under international law and viewed as a major obstacle to peace.
Israeli soldiers operate checkpoints across the West Bank that hugely restrict Palestinian freedom of movement, particularly in areas where settlements are present.
Palestinians have widely condemned the comments, saying the move would further entrench the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and increase Palestinian suffering.