UAE receives Israeli visa exemptions, a very first for Arab earth

Donna B. Jones

DUBAI/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – United Arab Emirates citizens will be equipped to stay in Israel for up to 90 times on a single pay a visit to, the Gulf power’s state information agency WAM said on Thursday, just after it grew to become the first Arab country to attain a visa-exemption settlement with Israel.

Until just lately, only Egypt and Jordan had full relations with Israel, but their nationals have to nevertheless use for entry permits. Some citizens of Arab states devoid of official ties have been admitted on a situation-by-situation foundation for trade or pilgrimage.

Diplomatic resources say the application method aids Israel display potential security threats. Pro-Palestinian sentiment is sturdy in Egypt and Jordan, which see relatively several tourist or small business exchanges with their neighbour Israel.

Israeli Regional Cooperation Minister Ofir Akunis reported safety “was a weighty issue and continues to be a weighty issue” in the selection to grant UAE citizens the exact same accessibility Israel offers Western nations around the world with which it has visa exemption preparations.

“Happily there are other usually means of distinguishing terrorists from persons who you explicitly know are peace-seekers coming listed here to do company or just tour all over Israel,” he advised Israel’s Military Radio devoid of elaborating.

The UAE and Bahrain formally set up relations with Israel at a Sept. 15 ceremony in the White Property, getting the initial Arab states in a lot more than a quarter of a century to crack what had been a long-standing taboo in the region.

The rapprochement, which has uncorked bilateral commerce, has been decried by Palestinians but cast by the Gulf states as constant with values of coexistence and progress.

An Israeli diplomat stated visa exemptions are “not on the cards” with Bahrain, the place a Sunni Muslim minority procedures a Shi’ite majority and which has seen protests towards the accord with Israel.

Reporting by Yousef Saba and Dan Williams Enhancing by Kevin Liffey and Andrew Cawthorne

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