An unofficial economic delegation from the United Arab Emirates was met with insults when they visited the Temple Mount last week.
The visit was not publicly announced, but the economic team was in Israel ahead of the signing of several agreements that occurred this week. The team decided to visit the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, considered one of Islam’s holiest sites.
But they were met with hostility by Palestinians who circulated videos on Palestinian social media of their visit. In the videos, someone yells, “Trash, trash!” at the delegation while another warns, “Leave, go on, get out.”
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh condemned the visit.
“One ought to enter the gates of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque by way of its owners, rather than through the gates of the occupation,” Shtayyeh said in a statement.
Ironically, a few days later Israel and the UAE signed visa waivers for tourists from either country. That means the after Israel’s borders open again to internationals, the Temple Mount could potentially be flooded with pilgrims from the UAE who could be subject to the same treatment.
This week, Israel and the UAE signed an aviation agreement that will allow some 112 weekly flights between the two countries. Previous reports put the number at 28, but that was just for the Emirates’ Etihad Airways. The 112 flights include Israeli carriers and other low-cost UAE carriers such as Fly Dubai and other airlines as well. This doesn’t bode well for Turkish Airways, which served as a hub between Israel and previously banned destinations such as the UAE.
Globes reported that a senior UAE official predicted that once travel picks up again after COVID, it will be difficult to find seats on flights between the two countries.
Meanwhile, Palestinians lashed out again after the first official state visit by a UAE delegation to Israel on Tuesday. PLO official Wasel Abu Youssef called the visit “shameful.”
“The bilateral agreements that were announced today and the delegations that come and go, all of that offers the occupation a strength to escalate its aggression and its crimes against the Palestinian people and increases its intransigence and arrogance,” he said.