Israel minister visits UAE to pave way for Netanyahu visit

Israel minister visits UAE to pave way for Netanyahu visit
A planned visit to the UAE by Benjamin Netanyahu was cancelled after a provocative act by an Israeli minister in Jerusalem.
2 min read
24 January, 2023
Dermer was said to be a key figure in the UAE-Israel normalisation deal [Getty]

An Israeli minister and key security official secretly visited the UAE on Sunday, to pave way for a visit to the Gulf state by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after an trip planned for early January was cancelled, according to reports.

Ron Dermer, strategic affairs minister, made the low-key trip to Abu Dhabi on Sunday, to reassure its Arab ally about the new Israeli government, which includes far-right and racist ministers in key ministerial posts, Walla reported.

A planned visit by Netanyahu to the UAE earlier this month was put on hold after the extremist Israeli National Security Minister Itimar Ben Gvir stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on 3 January.

The trip, by Dermer and National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi, was the first by a minister of the new Israeli government to the UAE, which has attracted huge controversy both at home and abroad due to the extremist views of many cabinet members.

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Dermer served as the ambassador to the US between 2013 and 2021, coinciding with the establishment of the so-called Arabaham Accords when Netanyahu last served as prime minister. 

The UAE and Israel have since signed a number of security and economic deals since then, although relations have reportedly been affected by the establishment of the new Israeli government.

Dermer's main task during the trip was to allay UAE fears about the inclusion of far-right ministers in government and repair relations, beginning with a visit by Netanyahu, Walla stated.

Another planned trip by Netanyahu to Abu Dhabi in 2021 was cancelled after Jordan reportedly delayed opening its airspace to the Israeli premier's plane.