Issued on: 16/08/2020 – 11:54
Telephone service between the United Arab Emirates and Israel began working Sunday as the two countries opened diplomatic ties, part of a deal brokered by the U.S. that required Israel to halt its contentious plan to annex West Bank land sought by the Palestinians for a future state.
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Associated Press journalists in Jerusalem and Dubai were able to call each other from both landline and cellular phones registered to Israel's country code +972 from around 1:15 p.m.
Israeli Communications Minister Yoaz Handel issued a statement “congratulating the United Arab Emirates on removing the blocks.”
“Many economic opportunities will open now, and these trust-building steps are an important step toward advancing states interests," Handel said.
Also Sunday, Israeli news websites that had previously been blocked by UAE authorities, like the Times of Israel, the Jerusalem Post and YNet, could be accessed without using means to bypass internet filtering in the Emirates.
In the UAE, a federation of seven sheikhdoms on the Arabian Peninsula, a recorded message in Arabic and English would typically play prior to Sunday saying calls to +972 numbers could not be connected. The advent of internet calling allowed people to get around the ban, though these too were often interrupted.
Some in Israel used Palestinian mobile phone numbers with +970 numbers, which those in the UAE could call.
The connection of phone service represents the first concrete sign of the deal between the Emiratis and Israelis.
Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced Thursday they were establishing full diplomatic relations in the U.S.-brokered accord.
The historic deal delivered a key foreign policy victory to President Donald Trump as he seeks re-election and reflected a changing Middle East in which shared concerns about archenemy Iran have largely overtaken traditional Arab support for the Palestinians.
Palestinians say it puts a just resolution of the Middle East conflict even farther out of reach by undermining an Arab consensus that recognition of Israel only come in return for concessions in peace talks. That removes a rare source of leverage for the Palestinians.
The agreement will make the UAE the third Arab country, after Egypt and Jordan, to have full, active diplomatic ties with Israel. The countries announced it in a joint statement, saying deals between Israel and the UAE were expected in the coming weeks in such aRead More – Source