Normalisation celebration: Israel euphoric as it officially signs agreement to attend Dubai Expo
Israel’s foreign minister has welcomed the signing of the official agreement for Israel's participation in the Dubai Expo to take place next year.
"This participation reflects the rise in Israel's status not only at the international level, but also among the key state players in our region. The participation gives Israel an exceptional opportunity to showcase its capabilities and achievements," Yisrael Katz said.
Amid rising tensions between Israel and regional adversaries Iran and Lebanon-based Hezbollah militants, Israel under Netanyahu has been building security ties with Gulf Arab countries including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
Lucrative economic ties are also on the table, such as a purported deal to build a gas pipeline to provide Saudi Arabia with a supply of Israel's natural gas.
Gulf rulers have come under harsh criticism for their perceived abandonment of support for Palestinian statehood and the rights of millions of Palestinians living under occupation.
Last month, an Emirati tourist official endorsed Israelis entering the UAE, even hinting that Israeli permission to enter the country will expand past the expo.
"I believe Israelis will come to visit even after the expo," said Assistant Director of Tourism Mohamed Khater in the Ras al Khaimah Emirate.
"Even now we have a few Israelis visiting us, and we will be happy to accommodate all Israeli tourists."