26 September Monday

UAE formally abolishes 48-year-old boycott of Israel; first flight between the nations on Sept. 1

Anas YassinUpdated: Sunday Aug 30, 2020

Women wearing face masks against the coronavirus walk past the United Arab Emirates and Israeli flags at the Peace Bridge in Netanya, Israel, Aug. 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Manama: The United Arab Emirates formally repealed the 48-year-old law on boycotting Israel and allowing trade and financial agreements between the two countries on Saturday.

The move was made on the orders of the President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, official news agency WAM reported. Scrapping a boycott law is as part of the UAE's efforts to expand diplomatic and commercial cooperation with Israel, leading to bilateral relations by stimulating economic growth and promoting technological innovation, WAM said.


The new law permits Israelis and Israeli companies to do business in the UAE, and allows purchase and trade of Israeli goods, WAM said. Furthermore, all Israeli products and goods can be traded in the UAE markets.


The latest announcement came as Israeli flag carrier El Al Israel Airlines Ltd set to operate the country's maiden commercial flight between Tel and Abu Dhabi on August 31. According to reports, Israeli government delegation and Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner, are due to travel on the flight, a U.S. official said.


Before the August 13 deal can be officially signed, details must be agreed on issues such as the opening of embassies, trade and travel links. Already, some Israeli firms had signed deals with Emirati counterparts.


The royal decree underlines the August 13 agreement opening up relations between the two nations, which required Israel to halt its plans to annex occupied West Bank land owned by the Palestinians.


It was unclear whether Monday's Israeli Air lines flight would be able to fly over Saudi Arabia, as the latter has no official ties with Israel. According to reports, the El Al Airline is believed to have applied for permission to fly through Saudi Arabian airspace ahead of the first-ever commercial flight by an Israeli carrier to the UAE.


The first known flight from UAE to Israel was an Etihad flight to Tel Aviv last May. The said flight was sent from Abu Dhabi to deliver supplies to the Palestinians to fight the coronavirus.