First UAE ambassador arrives in Israel, eyes Tel Aviv embassy

In a meeting with Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi in Jerusalem, Al Khaja said he was “very proud and honoured to be the first Emirati ambassador” to Israel, where he and his hosts were discussing “the model of how we operate”.

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The first UAE Ambassador, Mohammed Al Khaja, arrived in Israel on Monday, to explore an embassy location in the Tel Aviv area. The UAE will follow Jordan and Egypt in setting up an embassy in or near Tel Aviv. He pledged to build new bilateral relations with Israel. Al Khaja is a former chief staff to the UAE Foreign Minister. At the start of his three-day visit, he was due to present his credentials to the Israeli President, Reuven Rivlin.

In his meeting with the Foreign Minister of Israel, Gabi Ashkenazi, in Jerusalem, he said he was very honored to be the first Emirati ambassador to Israel and he has been discussing with his hosts the model under which they will operate. He also mentioned that his mission in Israel is to foster and develop a bilateral relationship to bring peace and prosperity to the Middle East.

Meanwhile, Israel and the UAE formalized their ties in Washington in a ceremony on September 15 and what brought them together was their shared concern about Iran. The Abraham Accords, which was also joined by Bahrain, have unsealed the tourism and commerce between Israel and the Gulf countries. Palestine has been critical of this approach, fearing that this might sideline their statehood goal.

Israel opened its embassy in Abu Dhabi in January. Israel considers Jerusalem as its capital, though only 8 other nations recognize the entire city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The Palestinians are demanding their own capital in the east that was captured by Israel in the 1967 war.

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