Israel, UAE sign first economic agreement, block terror funds

Israel, UAE sign first agreement on finance, including blocking funds for terror

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Israel and the UAE signed their first bi-national agreement Tuesday for cooperation in banking and financial services, including the war on terror.

“Today we signed the first agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates on cooperation in the field of banking and finance. The agreement will help us promote huge investments in Israel that will bring more money to citizens and more jobs,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted.

A statement from the prime minister’s office said the two sides will establish special working groups to focus on creating the conditions for joint investments that would “meet international standards including in the struggle against money laundering and financing terrorism.”

“We will soon announce additional agreements in aviation, tourism, trade and others,” the prime minister said.

Also Tuesday, the UAE’s Etihad Airlines signed a deal with an Israeli company to begin selling air tickets to Israelis. Etihad is expected to begin direct flights to Tel Aviv in the near future, allowing Israelis to fly through its hub airport in Abu Dhabi to connect to its numerous destinations in Asia and the Middle East.

El Al has expressed reservations about the deal.

“The entry of airlines from the UAE into Israel represents a great danger to Israeli aviation, and particularly to El Al,” a senior industry source told the Globes business newspaper. “Even before the crisis and before the change that will arise from the signing of the agreement with the UAE, the Israeli airlines lost money when the Open Skies policy came into full effect.”

“El Al still doesn’t know whether it will obtain a permanent permit to fly over Saudi Arabia, as opposed to the one-time permit for the flight to Abu Dhabi, but even if it does, I have no doubt that Etihad and Emirates are capable of taking over the Israeli market for flights to the Far East,” the source told Globes.