The United Arab Emirates (UAE) opened an embassy in the coastal city of Tel Aviv, Israel on Wednesday as part of a deal that was agreed last year to normalise diplomatic relations.
Israeli President, Isaac Herzog, who was sworn into office last week, called the opening “an important milestone for the entire Middle East” as he stood alongside Emirati ambassador, Mohamed al-Khaja, for the inaugural ceremony.
The ceremony included the raising of the UAE flag.
At the end of June, Israeli Foreign Minister, Jair Lapid, travelled to the UAE to open an embassy in Abu Dhabi and a consulate in Dubai.
Israel signed agreements known as the Abraham Accords, establishing diplomatic ties with the UAE and Bahrain in September following mediation by the United States, then under Donald Trump.
The UAE and Bahrain became the first Gulf countries to establish official ties with Israel, crossing a decades-old line drawn by most Arab states that had refused relations with Israel until the conflict with the Palestinians had been resolved.
Sudan and Morocco have also inked U.S.-brokered deals to form diplomatic ties with Israel in recent months.
The moves by the countries have sparked anger among Palestinians.
Behind the scenes, Israel and the Emirates had been cooperating for a long time, especially on security issues.
Both sides said they hoped to reap more economic benefits and wanted to work together in the areas of tourism and science.
The countries also recently started direct flights to each other. (dpa/NAN)