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UAE’s Cabinet approves deal normalizing ties with Israel

The United Arab Emirates' Cabinet has approved the country's deal establishing official ties with Israel, a month after the two countries signed the agreement in Washington.

Abu Dhabi, 19 October 2020 (dpa/MIA) – The United Arab Emirates’ Cabinet has approved the country’s deal establishing official ties with Israel, a month after the two countries signed the agreement in Washington.

The Cabinet, led by Prime Minister Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, “adopted a resolution to ratifying” the agreement, the government said on its Twitter account.

The Cabinet also ordered “initiating constitutional procedures to issue a federal decree ratifying the agreement,” the government added.

UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed signed the deal with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a ceremony hosted by US President Donald Trump on September 15 in Washington.

The UAE and Bahrain, which also signed a deal at the same ceremony, became the first Gulf states to establish official ties with Israel.

Earlier on Monday, the first commercial flight by the UAE’s national carrier, Etihad, landed in Israel on Monday.

“Shalom Tel Aviv! Thank you for the very warm welcome to Israel,” the airline tweeted, along with photos of the plane and the crew.

Etihad said the flight headed to Tel Aviv to take a group of Israeli tourism and travel industry leaders and journalists back to the UAE “at the invitation of Etihad Airways and representatives of Abu Dhabi’s tourism industry.”

A return journey to Tel Aviv is scheduled for October 21.

On August 31, Israeli airline El Al operated its first direct flight from Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport to Abu Dhabi.

On Monday, the Islamic State extremist group attacked the Gulf countries’ deals with Israel. In an audio message, the group also urged its followers to carry out attacks targeting Saudi Arabia’s infrastructure and economic facilities, saying it has supported the deals.

After the deals were announced, Saudi Arabia said it is allowing Israeli flights to cross its airspace after decades of banning it.

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