UAE invites Israeli airforce commander to Dubai Airshow
The UAE on Sunday included Israel in the Dubai International Air Chiefs' Conference as part of the Dubai Airshow for the first time ever in yet another materialisation of the unpopular normalisation agreement.
Israel Air Force Commander General Amikam Norkin travelled to Dubai for the show and met with the Commander of UAE’s Air Force General Ibrahim Nasser Mohammed Al-Alawi, senior Jordanian Air Force officer Gen. Mohammad Fathi Hiyasat, along with other regional and global military officials.
The Israeli army announced in a statement that this was Norkin's first visit to the UAE and "is part of the deepening of the ties and cooperation between the State of Israel and the United Arab Emirates".
The visit "indicated the continued development and strengthening of the relationship between the IDF and foreign militaries, at the national and strategic level, as well as an example of the growing cooperation in the Middle East", the statement added.
Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said that Israel's participation in the exhibition "reflects the deepening relations between our countries".
Last month, Norkin previously met Al-Alawi, when he visited for the first time during the large-scale international Blue Flag aerial exercise to take part in a conference for countries that have the F-35 fighter jet in their inventory.
He received a guard of honour led by Norkin at Palmahim Air Force Base south of Tel Aviv and discussed cooperation and strengthening the connection between the two Middle Eastern air forces.
"I thank you, commander of the Emirati Air Force, for your willingness to come to Israel," Norkin said at the time. "This is a historic and important day for cooperation between the air forces."
Dubbed the Abraham Accords, Israel's normalisation deals with the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco were slammed by Palestinians as a betrayal of their cause that rewarded Israel while it continued to occupy the West Bank and besiege the Gaza Strip.
Opinion polls showed that the overwhelming majority of respondents in the Arab world were opposed to the deals.
The normalisation agreements were universally rejected by Palestinian factions and triggered pro-Palestine solidarity protests across the world.
Israel already signed peace deals with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.