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  • Palestinian protesters run to seek cover from tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers, West Bank city of Nablus, 03 July 2020.

    Palestinian protesters run to seek cover from tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers, West Bank city of Nablus, 03 July 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 3 July 2020
Opinion

Several Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia and Oman, have cultivated covert ties with Israel.

The London-based al-Quds al-Arabi Friday reported that 42 Emirati companies have signed deals with Israeli companies purportedly to develop technological solutions against the pandemic, marking the latest bid by Arab countries to normalize ties with Tel Aviv.

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The agreements were made with two Israeli firms —Israeli air industries and Raphael— that are affiliated with the regime’s war ministry and provide the military with equipment and missiles.

The UAE officially announced late last month the launch of joint projects with Israel in the medical field especially in the fight against the coronavirus, while Israeli media revealed at the same time that Abu Dhabi had provided Tel Aviv with 100,000 test kits for the virus.

The UAE has also delivered two shipments of virus-related medical aid via a flight to the Israeli-occupied territories, a move widely criticized by the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Neither the UAE nor the other Gulf countries have official relations with Israel. Egypt and Jordan are the only Arab nations that signed peace treaties and have public diplomatic ties with the Jewish state, which has been illegally occupying Palestinian land for decades.

In recent years, however, several Gulf states, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Oman, have cultivated covert ties with Israel.

Main developments since the start of 2020 include the participation of UAE, Bahrain, and Oman ambassadors in the White House unveiling ceremony for U.S. President Donald Trump's so-called "Deal of the Century," and the reported talks to hold a "historic meeting" in Egypt between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

The question of normalizing ties with Israel is generally taboo in the Arab world and seen as a betrayal to the Arab and Muslim position on Palestine.

Many commentators say that taking measures to end the Arab boycott of Israel, without reaching a fair solution to the Palestinian issue will be damaging to a cause considered one of the most important priorities for many Muslims and Arabs around the world.

These normalization efforts come as Israel is planning to annex major parts of the occupied West Bank, including the Jordan Valley.

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