Israel–United Arab Emirates relations

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Israel-United Arab Emirates relations
Map indicating locations of Israel and United Arab Emirates

Israel

United Arab Emirates

Israel – United Arab Emirates relations do not currently officially exist. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) does not recognize Israel as a state, and the two countries do not have public diplomatic or economic relations. The UAE also does not allow Israeli citizens or those suspected of being Israeli citizens entry into the UAE, including Israeli passport holders, except for transit. All passengers and crew members of any nationality should ensure they do not have Israeli entry stamps in their passports.[1] There are no direct flights between Israel and the UAE so all travel must transit through a third country (such as Jordan),[2] and no Israeli aircraft may enter UAE airspace.[1] Such restrictions do not apply in Israel, though the UAE bars its citizens and aircraft from entering Israel. In recent years, the countries have engaged in extensive unofficial cooperation based on their joint opposition to Iran's nuclear program and regional influence.[3]

In 2015, Israel opened an official diplomatic mission in Abu Dhabi to the International Renewable Energy Agency.[4][5][6]

History[edit]

Timeline[edit]

Iran issue[edit]

After the inauguration of U.S. President Barack Obama in 2009, the Israeli and UAE ambassadors to the United States made a joint appeal in a meeting with the incoming administration's Middle East adviser to urge a tougher U.S. line on Iran.[3]

In September 2012, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan in New York. Although they agreed on the threat of Iran, the UAE refused to publicly improve relations without progress in the Israel-Palestine peace process.[7]

In 2015, the Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, briefed his UAE counterpart Yousef Al Otaiba on Israel's opposition to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and urged the UAE to take a more active role in opposing the deal.[3]

Close to the end of Obama's second term as U.S. President, U.S. intelligence agencies became aware of phone communication between the two countries' officials, including between Netanyahu and a senior UAE leader, and a meeting between Netanyahu and UAE leadership in Cyprus, which was focused on cooperation against Iran.[3]

After the election of Donald Trump as U.S. President, both Israel and the UAE lobbied for a rapprochement between the United States and Russia to contain Iranian influence in Syria.[8]

In June 2017, leaked e-mails revealed that the UAE and Saudi Arabia cooperate with Israel against Iran. Close relations were established between the UAE and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), a pro-Israel, neoconservative think tank also known for its influence on the administration of US President Donald Trump, in order "to find ways of hampering Iran's ability to engage in business activities with major companies around the world".[9][10]

In July 2017, the UAE mediated a meeting between Israeli intelligence and Khalifa Haftar, the head of the Libyan National Army, which is supported by the UAE in the Second Libyan Civil War, in order to negotiate Israeli military aid to Haftar's forces.[11]

In March 2018, Netanyahu met with Otaiba and the Bahraini ambassador to the United States at a restaurant in Washington, D.C., where the issue of Iran was discussed.[12]

On 10 October 2018, Dermer and Otaiba shared a table at the annual dinner of the Jewish Institute for National Security of America, where they were seen talking to one another.[13]

Visits by Israel[edit]

On 16 January 2010, Israel's Minister of National Infrastructure Uzi Landau attended a renewable energy conference in Abu Dhabi. He was the first Israeli minister to ever visit the UAE.[14]

In January 2016, Israel's Energy Minister visited the UAE at the site of International Renewable Energy Agency headquarters in Abu Dhabi.[15]

In September 2018, the UAE hosted secret talks in Abu Dhabi between Israeli and Turkish officials in order to discuss restoring relations between those two countries.[16]

On 26 October 2018, the Israeli Minister of Culture and Sport Miri Regev traveled to Abu Dhabi with the Israeli national judo team for an International Judo Federation tournament.[17]

In March 2019, Israeli athletes participated in the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games, held in Abu Dhabi.[18] In April 2019, Israel announced that it has been invited to take part at Dubai's Expo 2020 innovation fair.[19]

Sporting events[edit]

The UAE continues to take part in the Arab League boycott of Israel, including in sport, which dates back to 1945. Besides a ban on Israeli athletes being admitted into the country, UAE athletes are prohibited from taking part in events in Israel as well as competing against Israeli athletes in any circumstance.

In February 2010, Israeli tennis player Shahar Pe'er was denied a visa by the UAE, and thus prevented from playing at the Dubai Tennis Championships. A number of players, among them Venus Williams,[20] condemned the visa rejection, and Women's Tennis Association chief Larry Scott said that he had considered canceling the tournament, but chose not to after consulting Pe'er. Tournament director Salah Tahlak said that Pe'er was refused on the grounds that her appearance could incite anger in the Arab country, after she had already faced protests at the ASB Classic over the Gaza War.[21] The WTA said that it would review future tournaments in Dubai.[22] Due to the action, Tennis Channel decided not to televise the event[23] and The Wall Street Journal dropped its sponsorship.[24] The 2008 winner of the men's singles Andy Roddick chose not to defend his title, with prize money of over $2 million, to protest against the UAE's refusal to grant Pe'er a visa. "I really didn't agree with what went on over there. I don't know if it's the best thing to mix politics and sports, and that was probably a big part of it", Roddick said.[25]

In October 2017, when an Israeli won gold in an international judo championship in the UAE, officials refused to fly the Israeli flag and play the Israeli national anthem, instead playing the official music of the International Judo Federation (IJF) and flying the IJF's logo.[26] The UAE also banned Israeli athletes from wearing their country's symbols on uniforms,[26] having to wear IJF uniforms. Other contestants received similar treatment. In October 2018, the UAE reversed its position allowing the Israeli flag be displayed and anthem played when an Israeli judoka Sagi Muki won a gold medal in the Judo Grand Competition.[27][28]

The 2019 AFC Asian Cup held in January 2019 was another turning point. For the first time since the expulsion of Israel from the Asian Football Confederation, the UAE allowed Israeli TV channel, Sport 5, to directly broadcast the tournament held in the country. This was seen as a sign of warming relations between two nations. Sport 5 officially broadcast the opening match between the UAE and Bahrain, and had remained active until the end of the tournament.[29]

On 9 May 2019, the first team sporting match between Israel and the UAE took place at the Netball Europe Open Challenge at the National Sporting Centre in the Isle of Man.[30]

Incidents[edit]

Mabhouh assassination[edit]

The assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai on 19 January 2010, led the UAE to call for the arrest via Interpol of Meir Dagan, director of Israel's Mossad. Israel has neither denied nor confirmed any involvement. Dubai's Chief of Police, Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, stated that all travelers suspected of being Israeli will not be allowed into the country, even if they arrived on foreign passports.[31] After the incident, the UAE later proposed repairing its covert relationship with Israel through a deal where Israel would provide armed drones to them, but this was rejected by Israel due to concern that it would antagonize the United States.[3]

Travel restrictions[edit]

As the UAE does not officially recognize Israel, and does not allow Israeli citizens or those suspected of being Israeli citizens entry into the UAE, including Israeli passport holders, except for transit. All passengers and crew members of any nationality should ensure they do not have Israeli entry stamps in their passports.[1] There are no direct flights between Israel and the UAE, so all flights must stopover in a third, neutral country (such as Jordan),[2] and no Israeli aircraft may enter UAE airspace.[1] Such restrictions do not apply in Israel, though the UAE bars its citizens and aircraft from entering Israel. Restrictions were tightened against the entry of Israeli citizens following Mahbouh's assassination in Dubai, blamed on Israeli intelligence.[32] In 2012, Qantas teamed up with Emirates, in a deal that involved Qantas flights stopping over in Dubai on Australia-Europe flights.[33] Concerns were raised as to how the UAE travel restrictions would impact Qantas passengers who are nationals of Israel or traveling on an Israeli passport, for example, if such passengers had to stay overnight in Dubai for a connection. Qantas cancelled the deal in 2018.[34]

However, there are Jewish expatriates in the UAE, and there are Israelis with dual citizenship who live, visit, and work in the UAE as citizens of other countries.[35] Some Israeli companies conduct business in the UAE indirectly through third parties.[35]

Military[edit]

In August 2016, pilots from both the Israel Air Force and the UAE Air Force participated in a joint Red Flag training exercise with pilots from Pakistan and Spain, in Nevada in the United States.[36][37][38]

In 2017, the Israel Air Force and the UAE Air Force held a joint exercise with the air forces of the US and Italy and Greece, in Greece, called Iniohos 2017.[36][38] Another joint aerial training occurred at Iniohos 2019.[39]

The UAE and Israel actively participate together on the Egyptian government's side against the Sinai insurgency.[40][41]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d OVERFLIGHT PERMIT REQUIREMENTS
  2. ^ a b The Best Way to Travel From Israel to Dubai, UAE
  3. ^ a b c d e New Yorker, 16/6/2018, Donald Trump’s New World Order
  4. ^ "Exclusive: Israel to Open First Diplomatic Mission in Abu Dhabi - Israel News - Israel News - Haaretz Israeli News Source". Haaretz.com. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  5. ^ Weinglass, Simona. "In diplomatic first, Israel to open mission in Abu Dhabi". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  6. ^ Israel Is Strengthening Its Ties With The Gulf Monarchies | The Huffington Post
  7. ^ Haaretz, https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/netanyahu-secretly-met-with-uae-foreign-minister-in-2012-in-new-york-1.5432342
  8. ^ https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/israeli-saudi-and-emirati-officials-privately-pushed-for-trump-to-strike-a-grand-bargain-with-putin
  9. ^ http://217.218.67.231/Detail/2017/06/03/524103/UAE-Israel-Iran
  10. ^ The Intercept, 3/6/2017, Hacked Emails Show Top UAE Diplomat Coordinating With Pro-Israel Think Tank Against Iran
  11. ^ al Araby, 24/7/2017, Libya's Haftar 'provided with Israeli military aid following UAE-mediated meetings with Mossad agents'
  12. ^ The Times of Israel, Dinner diplomacy revealed: Netanyahu’s genial encounter with UAE, Bahrain envoys
  13. ^ Haaretz, Israel's U.S. Envoy Shares Dinner Table With UAE Counterpart in Rare Sign of Warming Ties
  14. ^ "Landau 1st Israeli minister to visit Abu Dhabi - Israel News, Ynetnews". Ynetnews.com. 20 June 1995. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  15. ^ Why Israel and the Arab nations are slowly drawing closer together
  16. ^ https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20180917-israel-turkey-hold-secret-talks-in-uae/
  17. ^ https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20181026-israel-culture-minister-arrives-in-uae/
  18. ^ "SO Israel". abudhabi2019.org.
  19. ^ "Israel to take part in Dubai Expo 2020". France24. 25 April 2019.
  20. ^ [1] Archived 26 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ "Dubai faces censure over Peer ban". BBC Sport. 17 February 2009. Retrieved 17 February 2009.
  22. ^ "UAE denies visa to Israeli tennis player - CNN.com". CNN. 15 February 2009. Retrieved 5 May 2010.
  23. ^ Sandomir, Richard. "Tennis Channel Won't Televise Dubai Event in Protest." The New York Times. 16 February 2009. Retrieved on 18 February 2009.
  24. ^ Ovide, Shira. "Journal Drops Dubai Tennis Sponsorship." The Wall Street Journal. 18 February 2009. Retrieved on 18 February 2009.
  25. ^ [2]
  26. ^ a b CNN, Henry Young,. "Israeli wins gold in UAE; officials refuse to play anthem".CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  27. ^ HATIKVAH PLAYS FOR FIRST TIME IN UAE AS ISRAELI JUDOKA WINS GOLD
  28. ^ Israeli national anthem plays in Qatar- watch
  29. ^ https://www.sport5.co.il/articles.aspx?FolderID=8638&docID=301876&lang=he
  30. ^ "Meet the Teams". netball.im. 22 January 2019. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  31. ^ "Dubai police chief bars all suspected Israelis entering UAE | World news". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  32. ^ "'Israelis No Longer Allowed in Dubai After Hamas Hit' - Israel News - Haaretz Israeli News Source". Haaretz.com. 1 March 2010. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  33. ^ Qantas extends Emirates deal, switches from Dubai to Singapore as Sydney-London stopover
  34. ^ Qantas stopovers: Singapore replaces Dubai for Europe flights
  35. ^ a b Friedman, Ron. "Israelis doing business in Dubai will wait out storm - Middle East - Jerusalem Post". Jpost.com. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  36. ^ a b Israeli Air Force holds joint exercise with United Arab Emirates, U.S. and Italy - Israel News - Haaretz.com
  37. ^ Israel, UAE to fly together in Greek air force exercise | The Times of Israel
  38. ^ a b Danger zone: UAE and Israel in joint air-force drills
  39. ^ "Israel and UAE Fly Together in Joint Aerial Exercise in Greece". The Tower. 11 April 2019.
  40. ^ "Secret Alliance: Israel Carries Out Airstrikes in Egypt, With Cairo's O.K." New York Times. 3 February 2018. For more than two years, unmarked Israeli drones, helicopters and jets have carried out a covert air campaign, conducting more than 100 airstrikes inside Egypt, frequently more than once a week — and all with the approval of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
  41. ^ "Donald Trump's New World Order". The New Yorker. 18 June 2018. Recently, coöperation among Israel and the Gulf states has expanded into the Sinai Peninsula, where M.B.Z. has deployed Emirati forces to train and assist Egyptian troops who have been fighting militants with help from Israeli military aircraft and intelligence agencies. U.A.E. forces have, on occasion, conducted counterterrorism missions in Sinai.