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Israeli Knesset Receives Emirati Delegation

Israeli Knesset Receives Emirati Delegation

Tuesday, 8 February, 2022 - 08:15
Knesset Speaker, Mickey Levy, with an Emirati delegation chaired by Head of the Federal National Council (FNC) Delegation Ali al-Nuaimi. (AFP)

The Israeli Knesset hosted on Monday an Emirati parliamentary delegation for the first time in its history.

The delegation was chaired by head of the Federal National Council (FNC) Ali al-Nuaimi and included lawmakers Sara Falaknaz and Marwan al-Muhairi, and UAE Ambassador to Israel Mohamed al-Khaja.

Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy received the delegation and extended an invitation to his Emirati counterpart to visit Israel.

"Welcome to Jerusalem, the city that is sacred to all sons of Abraham. It is a great honor to host you," Levy said.

Levy discussed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying he supports the two-state solution, adding: "I lost two of my brothers. No more."

"Both sides must understand that none of us are going anywhere," noted the Speaker, calling for the unification of all moderates of the region in the face of extremists.

During a meeting with the UAE lawmakers at his office, Levy addressed the Iranian threat saying: "I doubt Iran would be willing to sign any sort of agreement" - a reference to the peace accord signed between Israel and the UAE.

During their visit to the Knesset, the members of the UAE delegation also met with the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, chaired by MP Ram Ben Barak, and with the Israel-United Arab Emirates Parliamentary Friendship Group, chaired by MPs Merav Ben Ari and Eli Cohen.

The meeting with the Emirati delegation was held behind closed doors, but the media was allowed to cover the opening speeches.

Ben Barak described the Abraham Accords as a "significant milestone in advancing peace, tolerance, and cooperation between Israel and the United Arab Emirates."

He stated that there is a misconception that the normalization accords are based solely on one dimension of shared challenges and threats, but that is the smallest part of the agreement.

"Israel is committed to the agreement and intends to intensify and broaden it in all fields: economy, trade, science, innovation, agriculture, water, energy, education, and tourism."

He warned that extremism is the source of evil in the world, and "we must work to support the moderates and the dialogue between peoples through peace and tolerance."

Ben Barak concluded by saying there are many areas of shared interest in which Israel and UAE can work together, and "we must deepen our security and intelligence ties to benefit peace and success for both our peoples. You are our neighbors; you are our brothers and sisters. We are pleased by your visit."

For his part, Nuaimi said it is imperative to view the relationship between the UAE and Israel and the Abraham Accords with an inclusive perspective.

"We want you to look at the big picture. It's not only a political agreement; it's not an issue related to security and defense; it is an agent of change for the whole region."

The official asserted that the UAE wants full engagement with Israel in all sectors, with all stakeholders, to promote peace, security, stability, and prosperity in the region.

"We believe that our region has suffered a lot, and it's time that we take the lead ourselves in creating a better future for the new generation."

Nuaimi warned that nothing would happen if "we keep doing things as we used to do in the last thirty or forty years... This is why our leadership had the courage to make such a decision."

He recalled the conference in Dubai about investment between Israeli and Emirati businessmen, which was held last June when he was asked to give a speech at the meeting.

Nuaimi stated that the conference took place after the Gaza war, and people were questioning what would happen with the Abraham Accords.

The Emirati official asserted that there is no way back, adding: "We are not repeating history, we are writing history. We want not only to change the relations between the UAE and Israel; we want to change the whole region, and we also want the world to look at us from a different angle."

Nuaimi stated that Emirati leadership is a very dynamic leadership.

"We walk the talk; we think outside the box; we always push the boundaries. In many countries, it takes a month or a year to do things, but our leadership gives you an instruction today, and tomorrow they ask you, what have you done?"

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