Israel, UAE launch direct phone links after landmark deal

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Getty Images

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Callers can now make direct phone calls between Israel and UAE


Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have inaugurated direct telephone services between their countries following their agreement last week to normalize relations.

The foreign ministers of the countries spoke out and “exchanged greetings following the historic peace agreement”, according to a statement.

The deal brokered by the United States was announced Thursday by President Donald Trump.

This is only the third Israeli-Arab peace treaty in the Middle East.

The international community especially welcomed this decision, even if the Palestinians, Iran and Turkey denounced it.

Under the agreement, Israel agreed to suspend its controversial plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

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Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi – who held a call with his Emirati counterpart Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan – tweeted on Sunday that the two sides “have decided together to set up a direct communication channel before the signing of the standardization agreement between the two. country and… to meet soon “.

Israel’s communications ministry said telecommunications providers in the UAE have unblocked calls to numbers with Israel’s +972 country code.

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“I congratulate the United Arab Emirates on the unblocking,” Israeli Minister of Communications Yoaz Hendel said.

“Many economic opportunities will now open up and these confidence-building steps are important in advancing the interests of countries. ”

Both parties are expected to sign the deal in Washington in three weeks. The normalization of relations will include the opening of embassies in the territory of each.

In another sign of the new, closer relationship, the two countries signed an agreement on Covid-19 research on Saturday.

So far, Israel has had no diplomatic relations with the Arab Gulf countries. But shared concerns about Iran led to unofficial contacts between them.

President Trump’s chief adviser Jared Kushner told CBS that he and President Trump have been working on a deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates since Mr. Trump took office.

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The deal would have taken the Palestinian leadership by surprise. A spokesperson for President Mahmoud Abbas said the deal amounted to “betrayal”.

Since Israel’s declaration of independence in 1948, it has only signed peace agreements with two other Arab countries – Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

Mr Trump said he expected more Arab and Muslim countries to sign treaties with Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had “delayed” plans to annex the West Bank, but those plans remained “on the table”. Annexation would make parts of the West Bank an official part of Israel, dealing a blow to Palestinian plans to create their own state.

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EPA

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Palestinians in the Gaza Strip protested against the treaty


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