Home News Israel UAE foreign minister calls Israeli counterpart to launch direct phone lines

UAE foreign minister calls Israeli counterpart to launch direct phone lines

UAE foreign minister calls Israeli counterpart to launch direct phone lines
United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheik Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan checks his phone during the 10th International Institute for the Strategic Studies in Manama, Bahrain, Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014. Britain's top diplomat says his nation has signed a deal with the Gulf Arab nation of Bahrain to bolster the United Kingdom's military presence in the region. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond announced the deal Saturday at a security conference in the Bahraini capital, Manama, where he assured Gulf allies that "your security concerns are our security concerns." (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

Abu Dhabi authorities remove block on calls between countries, allow access to Israeli websites — including Times of Israel

Today, 3:05 pm

Telephone service between the United Arab Emirates and Israel began working Sunday, as the two countries began opening diplomatic ties, part of a deal brokered by the US that required Israel to halt its contentious plan to annex West Bank land sought by the Palestinians for a future state.

Associated Press journalists in Jerusalem and Dubai were able to call each other from both landline and cellular phones registered to Israel’s country code +972, from around 1:15 p.m.

Over an hour later, Emirati officials acknowledged that Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan had called his Israeli counterpart, Gabi Ashkenazi.

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Israel’s Foreign Ministry also confirmed the initiation of phone service with the UAE and that Ashkenazi had spoken with Al Nahyan.

The two ministers “jointly decided to establish a direct channel of communications between them, ahead of the signing of the normalization agreement between both countries, and agreed to meet soon,” it said in a statement.

Communications Minister Yoaz Handel issued a statement “congratulating the United Arab Emirates on removing the blocks.”

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, June 10, 2020. (Foreign Ministry/courtesy)
“Many economic opportunities will open now, and these trust-building steps are an important step toward advancing states’ interests,” Handel said.

Also Sunday, Israeli news websites that had previously been blocked by UAE authorities, including The Times of Israel, could be accessed without using intermediary means to bypass internet filtering in the Emirates.

In the UAE, a federation of seven sheikhdoms on the Arabian Peninsula, a recorded message in Arabic and English would typically play, prior to Sunday, saying calls to +972 numbers could not be connected. The advent of internet calling allowed people to get around the ban, though those calls too were often interrupted.

Some in Israel used Palestinian mobile phone numbers with +970 numbers, which those in the UAE could call.

The connection of phone service represents the first concrete sign of the deal between the Emiratis and Israelis.

Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced Thursday that they are establishing full diplomatic relations in the US-brokered accord.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (bottom left) at his office in Jerusalem on a phone call with UAE leader Mohammed Bin Zayed (bottom right) on August 13, 2020. (Above) US President Donald Trump. (Channel 12 screenshot)

The historic deal delivered a key foreign policy victory to US President Donald Trump as he seeks reelection and reflected a changing Middle East in which shared concerns about archenemy Iran have largely overtaken traditional Arab support for the Palestinians.

The agreement will make the UAE the third Arab country, after Egypt and Jordan, to have full, active diplomatic ties with Israel. The countries announced it in a joint statement, saying deals between Israel and the UAE were expected in the coming weeks in such areas as tourism, direct flights, and embassies.

Early Sunday, the Emirates’ state-run WAM news agency announced that a UAE company had signed an agreement with an Israeli company for research and study of the coronavirus pandemic.

Source: The Times of Israel


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