The arrival of the foreign minister of Israel, Yair Lapid, in the UAE is a landmark moment for the country. Mr. Lapid is the first Israeli minister to pay an official visit to the Gulf state. The UAE and Bahrain signed a historic deal for normalizing the ties nine months ago.
During the two-day trip, Mr. Lapid will meet his counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan. He inaugurated the Israeli embassy and the consulate office in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
This visit is important enough, not only for the symbolic significance. Also, it is because of being the first official engagement between the two sides after the Israel-Gaza conflict. This 11-day conflict was the first test for this newly forged relationship.
It has given the UAE the leadership which had billed the normalization bill in the form of the opportunity. Also, it will halt the plan of Israel to annex the parts of the completely occupied West Bank. It has become the subject of opposition for the Palestinians.
In this lead for the fighting, the UAE has condemned the potential eviction of Israel. It has become a focal point for resisting tension between Israel and Palestine. Also, it has urged Israel to defuse the situation.
During this situation of hostilities, the UAE could do very little to deploy this dramatic leverage to pressurize the Jewish state. It could have helped in limiting the scale of its attacks on Gaza. The militants fired thousands of rockets.
It is difficult enough to gauge the mood of the public about the contentious political issues in the UAE. However, the anger was palpable enough on social media with the citizens who are condemning the Israeli actions. It is showing support for the Palestinians.
Despite the death of Abdulkhaleq Abdullah, a Dubai-based political scientist believes that the historic visit of Mr. Lapid shows both the countries have managed the storm quite well.
“The bilateral relationship has passed its first test, and it shows its irreversible,” he says.
“The UAE is adopting two tracks: first is the normalization path and the second that it still supports the Palestinian right to have their state.”