Aug 30, 2020 - World

Israeli security delegation to travel to UAE in two weeks

Israeli and Emirati flags
Emirati and Israeli flags in the Israeli coastal city of Netanya. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images

A delegation of senior representatives from all Israeli security and intelligence agencies will travel to the UAE in the next two weeks to discuss security aspects of the U.S.-brokered normalization deal, two Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: Israel and the UAE have had a secret security relationship for more than two decades, but Israeli and Emirati officials hope that security dialogue and cooperation between the countries will be broadened as a result of the normalization deal. The Trump administration created a trilateral security dialogue between the U.S., Israel and the UAE.

Details: The Israeli delegation will be headed by Gen. Amir Eshel, the director-general of the Ministry of Defense and the former commander of the Israeli Air Force. The delegation will include representatives from the Mossad, the Shin Bet internal security service, the Israeli military and other agencies, Israeli officials tell me.

  • Eshel and other defense officials were originally scheduled to be part of the Israeli delegation that is traveling to Abu Dhabi on Monday together with a U.S. delegation headed by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner.
  • Officials tell me Israel, the UAE and the U.S. jointly decided to separate the economic and civilian talks planned for Monday from the security and intelligence talks.
  • A date for the security dialogue in Abu Dhabi has not been set yet, but it is expected to take place in September.

The big picture: Kushner, White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien and the rest of the U.S. delegation met Sunday in Jerusalem with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss the normalization deal and the trip to Abu Dhabi.

What they're saying:

  • Netanyahu said in press statements after the meeting that the normalization process is moving faster than he expected, but expressed concerns that Iran will try to sabotage the normalization process between Israel and the Arab world.
  • Kushner said the normalization deal between Israel and the UAE will change the region and called it a big step forward toward peace in the Middle East. Kushner added that the deal will further enhance security cooperation between the U.S., Israel and the UAE.
  • O’Brien said that more Muslim and Arab countries are expected to follow the UAE and normalize relations with Israel.
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