The United Arab Emirates (UAE), which normalized relations with Israel last year, has said it is setting up a $10 billion investment fund for Israel. The move, which was announced by the emirate's official news agency, was welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,
The proposed UAE fund will invest in strategic sectors in Israel. The step was taken following a constructive phone call between Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al and Netanyahu, UAE's WAM news agency said.
In August last year, UAE issued a decree to formally end its boycott of Israel. The deal was part of the US-brokered peace agreement to normalize relations between the two countries. Under the deal, UAE and Israel committed to expand diplomatic and commercial cooperation.
The UAE-Israel deal also laid out a roadmap towards launching joint cooperation, leading to bilateral relations by stimulating economic growth and promoting technological innovation, WAM had said at that time.
Netanyhau Praises Sheikh Mohammed
Netanyhau lauded the UAE leadership for the establishment of the fund. The move shows "Sheikh Mohammed's belief in Israel's economic leadership," Netanyahu said in an interview with an Israeli radio, Jordan's Albawaba reported.
The Israeli prime minister stressed that the proposed fund will help jump-start the Israeli economy as it emerges from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The UAE "will invest in and alongside Israel, across sectors including energy manufacturing, water, space, healthcare and agri-tech," the report says.
"The fund builds on the historic Abraham Accord and aims to bolster economic ties between two of the region's thriving economies, unlocking investments and partnership opportunities to drive socio-economic progress," WAM said.
When the UAE normalized ties with Israel it became only the third Arab state to establish relations with Israel. Egypt established ties in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. Following, the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan also entered into friendly ties with the Jewish state.
The UAE-Israel deal with criticized by many Islamic nations, led mainly by Iran, Pakistan and Malaysia. The Palestine government as well as the Hamas outfit that controls Gaza had also criticized the normalization of ties.
However, under the deal, brokered by the former US President Donald Trump, Israel had agreed to suspend the annexation of Palestinian lands in the occupied West Bank.