Israel, UAE Launch Telephone Service After Deal

  • This is the third peace deal between Israel and an Arab country in the Middle East.
  • The two foreign ministers "telephoned and exchanged greetings after the historic peace deal," a statement said.
  • The deal comes as a surprise to Palestinian leaders.

Israel and the United Arab Emirates have launched direct telephone service after agreeing last week to normalize relations. This will enable direct telephone calls between the two countries from now on. The two foreign ministers “telephoned and exchanged greetings after the historic peace deal,” a statement said.

The Israel–United Arab Emirates peace agreement, or the Abraham Accord, was agreed to by Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on August 13, 2020. If an agreement is signed, the UAE will be the third Arab country, after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994, to formally normalize its relationship with Israel, as well as the first Persian Gulf country to do so.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced the US-brokered deal last Thursday. This is the third peace deal between Israel and an Arab country in the Middle East. Internationally, most countries have welcomed the agreement, but Iran, Turkey, and the Palestinian Authority have condemned it. Under the terms of the agreement, Israel has agreed to suspend controversial settlement expansion plans in the occupied West Bank.

“We are delighted with this co-operation with TeraGroup, which is considered the first business to inaugurate trade, economy and effective partnerships between the Emirati and Israeli business sectors,” Khalifa Yousef Khouri, Apex’s chairman, said on Sunday.

After a telephone call with UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi wrote in a Twitter message on Sunday that the two sides had “decided to establish direct telephone contact before signing an agreement to normalize relations between the two countries.”

According to the Israeli Ministry of Communications, telephone service providers in the United Arab Emirates have released Israeli telephone codes.

“I congratulate the United Arab Emirates on the unblocking,” said Israeli communications minister Yoaz Hendel. “Many economic opportunities will now open up and these trust-building steps are important for advancing the countries’ interests.”

Israel’s sovereignty is disputed by some countries. As of August 2020, 163 of the 193 UN member states recognize Israel. The United Arab Emirates announced normalisation of relations in August 2020.

The two sides are expected to sign the agreement in Washington in the next three weeks. One of the steps to normalize relations is for one country to open an embassy in the other. The two countries signed an agreement on Saturday to conduct joint research on COVID-19 as a model of new closer ties.

So far, Israel has peace agreements with two other Arab countries: Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. Israel had diplomatic relations with Mauritania, another Arab League member, in 1999, but severed them in 2010. No other diplomatic relations with the Middle East exist. However, all of them have made informal contacts because of their concerns about Iran.

Donald Trump’s chief adviser Jared Kushner said in an interview with CBS Television in the United States that he and President Trump have been working to reach an agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates since Donald Trump took office.

The deal comes as a surprise to Palestinian leaders. A spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas called the deal a “fraud.” Mr. Eli Cohen, Israel’s intelligence minister told Israel’s Army Radio that “following this agreement, there will come other normalization agreements with other Gulf states and with Muslim states in Africa.”

President Trump has said he hopes more Arab and Muslim countries will reach an agreement with Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu says he has postponed plans to annex the West Bank but is still discussing them. If annexed, some areas of the West Bank would be officially part of Israel, reducing the Palestinians’ chances of getting a state of their own.

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Doris Mkwaya

I am a journalist, with more than 12 years of experience as a reporter, author, editor, and journalism lecturer." I've worked as a reporter, editor and journalism lecturer, and am very enthusiastic about bringing what I've learned to this site.  

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