Officials of the administration of newly elected US President Joe Biden conveyed messages to Israel saying the new administration will seek to continue the process of normalizing relations between Israel and Arab countries, begun during the last months of the Donald Trump administration.
Israeli Foreign Ministry Department for the Middle East Eliav Benjamin said during a briefing of pro-Israeli research institutes and activists that “I don’t think it is possible to return to the relations established between Israel and Arab countries in recent months,” according to Walla’s website. . Friday.
Benjamin added: “A lot of things are on the table before the new administration in the United States before they become preoccupied with Israel, but we are in contact with Biden’s staff and we have heard from them that they support the normalization process and are ready to continue it. . “
In a statement during the election campaign, Biden announced support for the alliance agreement and the normalization of relations between Israel and the UAE. There have been reports that Israel is concerned about the possibility of “cooling” relations between the Biden administration and between Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE, especially in the context of human rights violations and the war in Yemen.
According to Benjamin, Israel is continuing contacts with other countries in North Africa and the Gulf with the aim of reaching an agreement on the normalization of other relations. He said, “Some of them are more ready and less ready” to reach an agreement on normalization. “I expect other countries to join. I don’t know if it will happen in a few weeks or months, but there will be other countries. I think some countries are waiting for relations between Israel and countries that have returned to normal to progress.”
Benjamin added that a foreign ministry team is present in the UAE this week to take steps to open an Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi and a consulate in Dubai. He announced that the emirate’s delegation would arrive in Israel after the closure imposed by the Israeli government in the fight against the spread of Coronavirus, in order to push for the opening of the UAE embassy in Israel.
Yesterday, the newspaper Yediot Aharonot reported that Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi had appointed former Israeli Ambassador to China Zvi Hefetz as a special envoy for the opening of Israeli missions in the UAE and Bahrain.
Benjamin indicated that visits by many officials were delayed due to the spread of the Corona virus and closure. He said the Bahraini minister of trade and tourism was due to arrive in Israel late last week, at the head of a trade delegation, and this visit was postponed due to the closure.
He continued, “In the crater we have visits by President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Ashkenazi to the Emirates and Bahrain. All these visits are on the table and will be discussed. But the Corona is something that cannot be easily understood, and the other is side of that fully aware. They are more cautious than us about the Corona issue. That is the only reason for the lack of visits. “
Benjamin said the Palestinian issue is “difficult to ask” in talks with the Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco, “and on the one hand there is fatigue from the Palestinian issue and a feeling that they do not want to lose relations with Israel because of the Palestinians.”