Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan received a phone call from Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. They discussed ways of strengthening cooperation between the two countries.
Sheikh Mohamed and Bennett reviewed the latest developments; especially efforts to achieve peace and prosperity for the region’s people and the world at large.
In a brief statement; Bennett stressed the importance of the strategic relations between the two countries; which are reflected in several areas.
“The prime minister thanked the crown prince for opening an embassy in Israel and hosting the official visit of Foreign Minister Yair Lapid;” the statement said.
Last month; Lapid traveled to the UAE to open Israel’s embassy there; the first official visit by an Israeli minister to the Gulf state.
The statement did not say if Bennett had invited Bin Zayed to visit Israel or if the latter had invited the PM to visit the UAE.
Israel and the UAE signed a peace agreement and normalization of relations between them in September 2020 through an accord sealed by former US President Donald Trump.
Last week; the UAE inaugurated its embassy in Tel Aviv in the presence of Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Emirati Ambassador Mohammad Mahmoud Al Khaja.
Political sources in Tel Aviv revealed Friday that several experts; along with Energy Minister Karine Elharrar and Minister of Environmental Protection; Tamar Zandberg; criticized the deal to export UAE oil through Eilat and Ashkelon ports.
Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid are reevaluating the UAE oil export project to Europe and the West.
According to Haaretz; Elharrar told a meeting held at her office earlier this week that she saw no energy benefit to Israel from the deal but was not aware of its full details.
“Our position in the energy ministry is that we do not see any energy benefits for the Israeli economy in this agreement;” Haaretz quoted her as telling environmental activists. “If it is canceled; we do not see any damage in the sphere.”
A source close to Bennett confirmed that his government has not yet formed a position on the agreement.
The accord provides transferring crude oil and oil-related products from its Red Sea terminal in Eilat to its terminal in Ashkelon on the southern Mediterranean coast via a land-based pipeline that connects the two.
Israel distributes it to its towns as well as to the countries of the region and Europe. Emirate’s carriers have started activating it for testing.
Environmental and anti-corruption organizations oppose this project.
Three green organizations submitted a petition to the Supreme Court in May; demanding the deal should be cancelled given that it was neither discussed nor approved by the government nor opened for consultation with experts and the public.
The court rejected the request to issue the precautionary order; but it agreed to deliberate on the case and set a date next September for the first session.