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Sunset at a beach near Burj Al-Arab in the Gulf Emirate of Dubai. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP/Getty Images

United Arab Emirates president Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed issued a decree on Saturday abolishing the 1972 Israel boycott law, which banned any commercial and finance contacts with Israel. 

Why it matters: The announcement comes 48 hours before U.S. and Israeli government delegations are expected to arrive in Abu Dhabi for talks on the U.S.-brokered normalization deal. The delegations will arrive on El Al flight 971 — the first-ever flight to the UAE by an Israeli commercial airliner. 

According to the new decree, "individuals and companies in the UAE may enter into agreements with bodies or individuals residing in Israel or belonging to it by their nationality, in terms of commercial, financial operations, or any other dealings of any nature."

  • The decree also says it will be permissible to enter, exchange or possess Israeli goods and products of all kinds in the UAE and trade in them.

The bottom line: The new decree has a formal and symbolic importance, but for more than two decades there were growing informal trade and business ties between Israel and the UAE.

  • Israeli officials said that at least 500 Israeli companies have signed business deals in the UAE in the last 20 years.

Go deeper

Dec 2, 2020 - World

Israel's embassy in Bahrain comes out into the open

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Israel plans to open an official embassy in Bahrain by the end of December, formalizing 25 years of secret diplomatic contacts, Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: Israel already had a diplomatic mission in Manama for the last 11 years, run out of a front company that was listed as a commercial consulting firm. Now, there will be an Israeli flag and a sign on the door.

Educators face fines, harassment over critical race theory

People talk before the start of a rally against critical race theory being taught in schools at the Loudoun County Government center in Leesburg, Va. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Elementary school teachers, administrators and college professors are facing fines, physical threats, and fear of firing because of an organized push from the right to remove classroom discussions of systemic racism.

Why it matters: Moves to ban critical race theory are raising free speech concerns amid an absence of consistent parameters about what teachings are in or out of bounds.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

1 dead after pickup truck hits Pride spectators in Florida

Police investigate the scene where a pickup truck drove into a crowd of people at a Pride parade in Wilton Manors, Florida, on Saturday. Photo: Jason Koerner/Getty Images

A driver in a pickup truck hit spectators at a Pride festival in Wilton Manors, Florida, killing a man and leaving another person hospitalized Saturday, authorities said.

Details: Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis told reporters police had "apprehended the driver" and that the vehicle missed a parade car carrying Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) "by inches."