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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.

Updated 1 hour ago - Economy & Business

The billionaire balloon

Data: World Inequality Report 2022; Chart: Axios Visuals

The super-rich are getting stupid rich: New data out today shows the share of global wealth held by the richest slice of humanity swelled by almost a full percentage point during the pandemic.

Driving the news: The top 0.01% of individuals now hold about 11% of the world's wealth, compared to just over 10% in 2020, according to the "World Inequality Report 2022," written by Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
1 hour ago - Health

Omicron gives a shot to boosters

Expand chart
Data: CDC; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Vaccination rates have ticked higher since the discovery of the Omicron variant, CDC data shows.

By the numbers: The seven-day average for vaccinations in the U.S. reached about 1.8 million on Monday, up from an average of about 1.3 million a month ago.