DUBAI – Important news has occurred this week that has not received the attention it deserves: Israel and the United Arab Emirates have signed an agreement to avoid double taxation.

This deal has been in the works for a short time after the signing of the Abrahamic Accords, so it wasn’t the most surprising turn of events.

But what makes the deal important is the timing: For Finance Minister Israel Katz and his Emirati counterpart, Obaid Al Tayer, signing a deal this week sends a strong message that the Abraham Accords are still on hold. right way.

When Hamas started firing rockets at Jerusalem last month and Operation Guardian of the Walls began, some commentators and politicians said it was a sign of the collapse or collapse of the agreements. Abraham.

Many of these comments were bad faith arguments using the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a backdrop for existing grievances against the Trump administration, such as, “I guess Jared Kushner didn’t really bring peace to the Middle. East.

It is like the reverse of the perverse “nexus” theory that accuses Israel of all conflicts in the Middle East. No one who looked at the Abraham’s Accords smartly and honestly when they were signed in September said they were going to solve all the problems in the region.

In fact, Israel and the UAE have come closer in part because, as the saying goes, the enemy of my enemy is my friend – both are concerned about Iranian aggression.

But the Abraham Accords were still a watershed moment for the Middle East, signaling to four other Arab states that diplomatic relations with Israel would benefit them and be beneficial to stability and progress in the region. And he told the Palestinians that they no longer had a veto and could no longer stand between Israel and the rest of the Middle East at all levels.

The other argument regarding Abraham’s accords in the latest Israel-Gaza conflict, which appears to be made in better faith, was that the burgeoning relationship between Israel and the Arab states would not stand up to the pressure of anger in the Arab world. about Israeli police entering al-Aqsa Mosque – even if it was to stop rioters from throwing stones and fireworks – and another mini-war with Gaza.

This concern was reasonable because it has occurred in the past. Qatar, for example, severed lower-level relations with Israel during the three-week war on Gaza in 2008-2009, known as Operation Cast Lead. Several other Muslim and Arab countries severed ties with Israel during the Second Intifada. Even non-democratic countries have cause for concern about public opinion, and Jerusalem is a hot issue.

At the same time, this is the narrative offered by Iran and Hamas. For example, a few days after the last escalation from Gaza

Completed, Iranian Tasnim News Agency issued a report that can be considered to reflect the regime’s views.

“Countries that wanted to compromise with the enemy” – that is, Israel – “will withdraw from this decision for a long time,” the report said. “While hopes of reviving the Palestinian cause have recently been dashed by the treacherous positions of compromising regimes” – namely the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan – “and the Palestinian Authority, the realities of this war have shown that ready to make any sacrifice to defend their cause.

In other words, Iran has sought to sabotage Israel’s new diplomatic ties – but Tehran has failed.

During the riots in Jerusalem and after Operation Guardian of the Walls, the United Arab Emirates issued statements criticizing Israel. but they were calm and not particularly hard. They behaved like many other countries with which Israel maintains diplomatic relations – critical, but not triggering a crisis.

Developments in relations with the UAE have been put on hold for these few weeks, but they have already made a comeback and are slowly getting back on track, an Israeli diplomatic source said. They could stay slow for the next two weeks, the source said, adding that he was not worried for the next two years and beyond.

In this vein, the Ministry of the Economy announced on Tuesday its intention to open an economic office in Abu Dhabi this summer.

An Emirati diplomat confirmed that the UAE is still optimistic about relations with Israel and is not shocked that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is still there. The economic and security benefits of Israel and the UAE working together remain clear, the source said.

Person-to-person, Emirati and Israeli friendships are as strong as ever. Groups that strive to strengthen ties are still having zoom meetings and chatting on WhatsApp every day. Emiratis with large social media accounts that promote relations with Israel still do.

And the Jerusalem Post and the Khaleej Times are holding a conference in Dubai to celebrate and strengthen diplomatic and trade relations that are fully booked, with more people clamoring to enter.

So this week’s UAE-Israel tax treaty may have been a small headline, but it has a big impact: it says the peace and historic progress brought by the Abrahamic Accords continue to stand. do for the benefit of both nations.

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