It was a historic scene as the first United Arab Emirates (UAE) ambassador to Israel presented his credentials to President Reuven Rivlin, in yet another official staging of closer diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Mohammed Mahmoud al-Khaja presented his credentials to Reuven Rivlin as the UAE's first-ever ambassador to the Israeli state following the famous Abraham Accords under which several Arab countries, such as the UAE and Bahrain, established ties with the Jewish country under the auspices of the former US administration of Donald Trump.
The presentation of the credentials was celebrated at an official reception; the UAE national anthem was played at the event before the credentials were handed over to the President of Israel. Reuven Rivlin himself declared that this was a 'special moment' for him as head of the Israeli state; and referred to the UAE as a peace-loving country that succeeded in turning the desert into a flourishing oasis and centre of technology, creativity and advanced sciences, as reported by the official Emirati news agency WAM.
"We look forward to strengthening the relationship between both countries. Thanks to the courageous and wise leadership of the UAE, we have had the honor of seeing this wonderful day, with the UAE flag flying alongside the Israeli flag over the presidential residence in Jerusalem," Rivlin said. “The entire Israeli people welcomes you with joy,” the president continued, noting that agreements are made between leaders, but real and sustainable peace is forged by people.
Reuven Rivlin spoke of the opportunities and prosperity that the new partnership between Israel and the UAE, two of the most advanced countries in the Middle East in various sectors, opens up. “There are many things we can do to push our peoples and the Middle East forward by promoting regional cooperation, mutual respect, and the consolidation of the values of peace" said the Israeli head of state. "I look forward to seeing you succeed in building the bridge of peace between both countries and our peoples. Welcome!" the President concluded.
For his part, Ambassador Al-Khaja expressed his appreciation for the welcome he received and conveyed the greetings of UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and their wishes to Your Excellency and your people for further progress and prosperity." Al Khaja continued, "Please allow me to express our overwhelming happiness at our presence on this land in the presence of Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen."
"The UAE and the State of Israel share common ground, and we maintain a common vision for the future in which the values of tolerance and cooperation are needed now more than ever before. The historic Abraham Accords Peace Agreement, signed at the White House in September 2020, has opened a new chapter in relations between our two countries and promotes stability and security in our region," Al-Khaja said.
"Today, we are witnessing a new vision that will create a better path for the Middle East region. The Abraham Accords Peace Agreement is a historic achievement that will not only positively impact both countries, but also the entire region. Every option other than peace will mean destruction, poverty, and human suffering," the new ambassador added.
The path to peace in the Middle East continues to deepen after the Abraham Accords, which have led nations such as the Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco to establish diplomatic ties with Israel, something historic in the Arab world, as only Egypt and Jordan had relations with the Israeli state before. The challenge is to achieve peace in the region and corner common enemies, such as Iran and Turkey, which, as several analysts point out, pursue a policy of expansionism and interference in the internal affairs of other states, which is not beneficial for the stability of a hot zone such as the Middle East has always been.