Israel is to open an official mission in the United Arab Emirates, in the latest sign of warming relations between the Gulf States and Jerusalem.
The two countries have no diplomatic relations, and this will remain so, despite the new mission, which will represent Israel at the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), headquartered in Abu Dhabi.
However, it does mean that, for the first time, Israel will have a resident diplomat in the Gulf. Qatar has previously allowed an Israeli trade office to operate in the country but ordered its closure following a 2008-2009 military offensive in the Gaza Strip.
Dore Gold, director of Israel’s foreign ministry, visited the oil-rich city state last week to finalise details. When asked by an Al-Jazeera journalist whether he would like Israel to have full diplomatic relations with the UAE, he said: “Yes, we would love to. We would like to have diplomatic relations with everyone in the region.”
Israeli security experts have long spoken of a “silent alliance” between Israel and some Arab states with which it has no diplomatic relations, such as Saudi Arabia, and contact has increased in recent months over shared fears of Iranian regional ambitions.