UAE can't wait to welcome Israeli tourists ahead of World Expo

UAE can't wait to welcome Israeli tourists ahead of World Expo
2 min read
06 November, 2019
In what is seen as another step towards normalisation, the UAE will open its doors to Israeli tourists for the World Expo in 2020.
The UAE will open its doors to Israelis [Getty]
Israeli tourists will be allowed into the United Arab Emirates as Dubai hosts the 2020 World Expo, according to Israeli media.

The UAE, which has already come under fire for normalising relations with Israel, will allow Israeli citizens to enter the country whilst it hosts the six-month-long event. It is speculatied that Israelis will later be allowed to enter permanently.

"Israeli and the UAE's authorities have been in talks for a while, in order to allow those with Israeli passports to attend the Expo in Dubai," a source within the Expo's management team said to Israeli news outlet Yedioth Ahronoth.

"These talks are happening because both sides want to see the Expo turn into the biggest exhibition in the world, the UAE invested tremendous amounts of money and thought into the event and they want Israelis to be welcomed as well."

Read more: Israeli official takes part in Bahrain anti-Iran maritime security conference amid increasing normalisation

An Emirati tourist official endorsed Israelis entering the UAE, even hinting that Israeli permission to enter the country will expand past the expo.

"I believe Israelis will come to visit even after the expo," said Assistant Director of Tourism Mohamed Khater in the Ras al Khaimah Emirate.

"Even now we have a few Israelis visiting us, and we will be happy to accommodate all Israeli tourists."

The expo will run from 20 October 2020 to 10 April 2021.

Yedioth Ahronoth also reported Israeli participation in the construction of Saudi mega-city Neom.

Their report said Saudi authorities acknowledged the participation of Israelis in the construction of the megacity in the planning and infrastructure stages.

Two sources in the Saudi government reportedly approved involving Israelis in the construction of the city, which the Kingdom plans to establish on the shores of the Red Sea until 2030, on an area of 26 thousand square kilometers.

Amid rising tensions between Israel and regional adversaries Iran and Lebanon-based  Hezbollah militants, Israel under Netanyahu has been building security ties with Gulf Arab countries including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE.

Lucrative economic ties are also on the table, such as a purported deal to build a gas pipeline to provide Saudi Arabia with a supply of Israel's natural gas.

Gulf rulers have come harsh criticism criticism for their perceived abandonment of support for Palestinian statehood and the rights of millions of Palestinians living under occupation.

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