IRENA building in Abu Dhabi.

Israeli government to open a diplomatic office in IRENA, Abu Dhabi

PNN/Bethlehem

Yesterday early morning, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz released in first hand that the Israeli government will open its first diplomatic mission in the United Arab Emirates capital, Abu Dhabi.

However, the diplomatic mission will be accredited to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), after years of discussions, not as a “normal style” Embassy.

It is the first official Israeli presence in Abu Dhabi, even though the two countries have no diplomatic relations.

Emmanuel Nahshon, a spokesman for the Israeli foreign ministry, denied that the mission meant that Israeli government and the UAE had now established diplomatic relations, as stated by Al Jaazera.

He stressed that the Israeli diplomatic representative will be accredited to IRENA only, not the UAE’s foreign ministry.

“We only have an accredited diplomat to represent Israel at IRENA, which is an international organisation that happened to be based in Abu Dhabi,” adding that, “the representative will be a resident diplomat in Abu Dhabi with IRENA only”.

According to Haaretz, “a senior official in Jerusalem reported that diplomat Rami Hatan has been appointed to head the Israeli legation, and will depart for Abu Dhabi in the near future.”

In a statement quoted by the UAE’s official news agency WAM, Maryam al-Falasi, the director of communications at the ministry, said that “any agreement between IRENA and Israel does not represent any change in the position of the UAE or its relations with Israel”.

“In January 2010, Uzi Landau, Israel’s minister for infrastructure, participated in an IRENA conference in Abu Dhabi, marking the first time an Israeli cabinet minister had visited the UAE.

One month later, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a leading Hamas militant, was assassinated in Dubai. News of the incident reverberated around the globe. Dubai police investigators accused the Israel’s Mossad espionage agency of the assassination, and even published photographs of members of the hit team.

The affair led to enormous tension between the UAE and Israel, even at a time when there were no diplomatic relations between them”, as state by Haaretz.

Across the Arab world, Israel only maintains embassies in Egypt and Jordan. Israeli passport holders are barred from entering the UAE. The UAE, along with other Arab countries, does not have diplomatic ties with Israel and remains opposed to its occupation of Palestine.