The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has officially inaugurated its embassy in Israel, less than a year after the two sides agreed to establish formal relations under a US-brokered deal.
The inauguration ceremony on Wednesday was hosted by UAE’s Ambassador to Israel Mohammad al-Khaja, with the regime’s President Isaac Herzog in attendance.
The embassy is situated in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange building, also known as the Bursa.
Israel opened its embassy in the Emirati capital in late June. Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid inaugurated the Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Israeli consulate in Dubai during a two-day visit.
Israel and the UAE have signed a raft of deals in various areas, ranging from tourism to aviation and financial services, since they signed the normalization agreement in August last year.
Israeli ministers had previously visited the UAE, but Lapid is the most senior Israeli diplomat to have made the trip, and the first to travel on an official mission.
In March, a planned official visit by then Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the UAE was canceled due to a “dispute” with Jordan over the use of its airspace, according to Israeli officials.
Netanyahu signed agreements with the Emirati foreign minister and Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani during an official ceremony hosted by former US President Donald Trump at the White House on September 15 last year.
Palestinians, who seek an independent state in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital, view the deals as a betrayal of their cause.
A member of the Palestinian Fatah movement’s Central Committee has censured Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (MBZ) as “a traitor” to the Palestinian cause, saying the United Arab Emirates must be expelled from the Arab League due to normalization with Israel.
Abbas Zaki said if the UAE’s doors are opened to “naturalize the Zionists, you will perish."
“The people of the Emirates are free and great and we do not attribute this betrayal to them, because the only traitor is Mohammed bin Zayed,” Zaki stated.
French, German diplomats boycott US embassy event in Jerusalem al-Quds
Separately, senior European ambassadors to Israel, including German and French officials, boycotted an Independence Day ceremony on July 4 at the US embassy in occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.
According to a report by Jerusalem Post, the ambassadors decided not to attend the event because their countries consider Jerusalem al-Quds as an occupied city.
Those who did take part in the ceremony reportedly included ambassadors from Romania and the United Kingdom, as well as Kosovo, Australia, Norway, and Canada.
Trump sparked controversy by officially recognizing Jerusalem al-Quds as the Israeli “capital” in December 2017, before moving the US embassy there from Tel Aviv in May 2018.
Guatemala and Paraguay later followed in Washington’s footstep, before the latter reversed its decision after just four months.
Israel lays claim to the entire Jerusalem al-Quds, but the international community views the city’s eastern sector as occupied territory and Palestinians consider it the capital of their future state.