The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel plan to participate in a joint military exercise in Greece. This is the first public announcement of military cooperation between the two following the normalization of their relations last August.
Israeli military sources announced the news on Saturday. The Maariv daily said the war game was part of an international military exercise.
The exercise in Greece would also include air forces from the United States, Canada, Slovakia, Spain and Cyprus. The reports did not specify the exact date or location of the exercise.
The daily said the United Arab Emirates had joined Israel in exercises before, but this was the first time Abu Dhabi had agreed to release the information.
Israel and the UAE agreed Aug. 13 on a U.S.-brokered deal to normalize relations.
Under the agreement, Tel Aviv reportedly agreed to “temporarily” suspend the application of its own rule to more territory in the occupied West Bank and strategic Jordan Valley, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had promised to annex.
Israeli leaders, however, flatly rejected claims by Abu Dhabi’s crown prince and de facto ruler of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who had said Israel’s annexation plans were off the table after the deal.
Netanyahu later stressed that annexation was not off the table, but simply delayed.
The UAE-Israel agreement sparked protests and condemnations in Muslim and Arab countries, which called it a betrayal against the Palestinians.
The agreement encouraged other Arab states such as Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco to establish formal relations with Tel Aviv.
Palestinians have unanimously criticized the agreements, which run counter to a long-standing Arab consensus that normalization must come only after the Middle East conflict is resolved and a sovereign Palestinian state is established.
They say the agreements amount to stabbing Palestinians in the back.
by Basit Abbasi – CCTV