The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has inaugurated its embassy in Israel, less than a year after the two countries announced they would establish formal diplomatic relations.
The embassy is situated in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange building and its opening on Wednesday followed the inauguration of Israel’s embassy in the UAE last month.
The venue in the heart of Israel’s financial district highlighted the central role economic cooperation has played since the UAE became only the third majority-Arab country to recognise Israel.
At the ceremony, attended by new Israeli President Isaac Herzog, Emirati Ambassador Mohamed al-Khaja called the embassy opening “an important milestone in the growing relationship between our two countries”.
“The UAE and Israel are both innovative nations, we can harness this creativity to work towards a more prosperous and sustainable future for our countries and our region,” he said.
Herzog called for the “historic agreement” with the UAE to be “extended to other nations seeking peace with Israel”.
Breaking with Arab consensus
The UAE normalised relations with Israel last year under the “Abraham Accords” crafted by the administration of then-US President Donald Trump.
The Palestinians were outraged by the move, which broke with decades of Arab consensus that there should be no normalisation of ties without a comprehensive and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
Following the UAE deal, Israel normalised relations with Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan – also sparking Palestinian protests.
Israel and the UAE have sought to emphasise the economic dividend offered by normalisation.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid told Emirati media last month that bilateral trade has reached more than $675.22m since the signing of the Abraham Accords in September 2020.