At the commencement of the weeklong Dubai Airshow on Monday, the exhibition stands belonging to Israeli weapons manufacturers Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems was devoid of personnel. This occurrence coincided with the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza. The reason behind the absence of staff at these exhibition stands, situated in close proximity to the pavilion of United Arab Emirates state arms manufacturer EDGE, remains unclear. Notably, IAI and EDGE had previously entered into collaborative development initiatives during the preceding Dubai Airshow in 2021.
IAI and Rafael have not yet responded to requests for comment via email regarding their involvement. The IAI exhibition booth was cordoned off with red rope.
Requests for comment via email regarding their participation have not been answered by IAI and Rafael. The IAI exhibition stand was blocked off with red rope.
what said staff?
Although one staff member refused to answer questions from the press about their involvement, the locally registered company of Israel’s Elbit Systems had a manned exhibition stand.
As the death toll from Israel’s invasion of Gaza continues to rise, Arab and Muslim nations have called for a cessation of arms sales to Israel. The invasion was launched in response to cross-border attacks by the Palestinian Hamas militant group, which governs the enclave, on October 7th, and has sparked outrage in Arab capitals.
Visitors to the Elbit Systems stand, located near UAE’s EDGE, were greeted by a man dressed in traditional Emirati clothing, offering them a cup of traditional Arab coffee.
Since 2020, Israeli companies have actively participated in exhibitions and conferences in the UAE, following the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two nations under a U.S.-brokered agreement. Despite the international outcry over the ongoing conflict in Gaza, sources familiar with UAE government policy have stated that the UAE is committed to maintaining these diplomatic ties. The UAE’s decision to establish diplomatic relations with Israel through the Abraham Accords in 2020 marked a significant departure from the long-standing pan-Arab policy that prioritized the establishment of a Palestinian state before normalizing relations with Israel. This historic agreement has also paved the way for other Arab states to forge ties with Israel.
Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Vice President of the United Arab Emirates and brother of President Sheikh Mohamed, was present at the exceptional joint gathering of Arab League and Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) nations, which urged for the imposition of an arms embargo on Israel.
Sources from Reuters.
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