For the very first time, an Arab Gulf state has opened an embassy in Israel. The historic event took place Wednesday as officials from Israel and the United Arab Emirates held a flag-raising ceremony.
It is just the latest positive outcome of the year-old Abraham Peace Accords spearheaded by former President Donald Trump between Israel and its Arab and African neighbors.
The first-ever Emirati ambassador to Israel, Mohamed Al Khaja, told reporters at the opening that the site will serve as “a base for our task to continue to build on our new partnership, to seek dialog, not dispute, to build a new paradigm of peace and to provide a model for a new collaborative approach to conflict resolution in the Middle East.”
READ: Sudan signs peace agreement with Israel
“This is only the beginning,” Al Khaja added. “Since the normalization of relationships, we have seen trade talks and investment opportunities, as well as collaborations between hospitals and universities.”
Israeli president Isaac Herzog spoke at the inauguration, calling the opening “an important milestone in our shared journey toward a future of peace, prosperity and security for the Middle East.
The outbreak of peace is clearly evident and fluttering in the wind as warm Mediterranean breezes blow into Tel Aviv.
“Seeing the [Emirati] flag in Tel Aviv was a distant dream just a year ago, and now it looks normal,” Herzog said. “We made the impossible possible.”
After a flag-raising ceremony and speeches, al-Khaja rang the opening bell signifying the beginning of the trading day at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
The opening comes after Foreign Minister Yair Lapid officially inaugurated the Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi just two weeks ago.
The UAE chose to open the embassy in Tel Aviv rather than in Israel’s capital city of Jerusalem, in order to maintain neutrality in the Israeli – Arab conflict.
The United States, Honduras, and Guatemala maintain official embassies in Jerusalem, while dozens of others have consulates in the city.
–Metro Voice and wire services