The United Arab Emirates-Israel Business Council (UIBC) of Israeli and UAE businessmen was recently established following the initiative of Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, and her partner in the Emirates, Thani al-Shirawi.
Hassan-Nahoum, dubbed by some as the city’s foreign minister, is entrusted with the city’s foreign relations.
The council works to promote deals in the fields of science, technology, medicine, high tech, and agriculture, and consists of more than 50 businessmen in Israel and the UAE, many of whom recently participated in a conference through Zoom on August 18.
“We connect between Israel’s dynamic technology and innovation ecosystem, and the UAE’s unique strengths in finance, trade, and logistics. Together, we can build a brighter future for the entire region,” the UIBC says.
In an interview with TPS, Hassan-Nahoum said that the council is currently working to promote a series of projects in the fields of construction, including the establishment of “Silicon Wadi” in eastern Jerusalem.
These initiatives, she says, are projects that the Jerusalem municipality has sought to promote in recent years and were disrupted by Arab and Palestinian elements, for political reasons.
“Now,” she says, “we have the opportunity to implement the plans for the benefits of the residents of eastern Jerusalem and the city as a whole.”
Al-Shirawi, the Emirati head of the council, told TPS that the forum is of great economic and political importance and has great potential for improving life in eastern Jerusalem.
The forum will work to promote tourism projects to Jerusalem, including religious tourism.
“We hope that the city’s residents will welcome tourists from the Emirates, despite opposition from the Palestinian leadership. We live here [in the UAE] with Palestinians and understand the gap between the street and its leadership,” he said.
“This is nothing more than the normalization of the relationship, and better late than never,” said Shirawi.
“We view Palestinians and Jordanians and Israelis as our brothers and hope that the economic initiatives will sweep everyone,” he added.
Recently Jerusalem’s Mayor Moshe Lion received a series of proposals from sources in the Emirates for investments in projects, including in the fields of construction in the east of the city, and that the municipality intends to establish the Emirates embassy in Jerusalem, in an attempt to attract entrepreneurs and investors from the Emirates to the city.
“We intend to ask the Emirates to establish their embassy here in Jerusalem,” Lion said recently, “and we look forward to the arrival of UAE officials and residents to the city.”
TPS has learned that officials in Israel believe that economic investments by the Emirates in eastern Jerusalem will push out Turkey, which has been operating in the east of the city in recent years and is promoting a long list of projects and supports mainly Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated organizations.
Promoting projects in the east of the city through the Emirates seems like a better course of action. The United States is also behind the effort to promote economic cooperation between Israel and the Emirates in eastern Jerusalem.
TPS has also learned that several months ago, before the peace agreement was announced, officials from the Jerusalem municipality began a series of contacts with representatives of the Emirates, through a third Arab source, an associate of Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to examine the promotion of investments by the Emirates in the east of the city, including housing and education institutions, not through the municipality and in collaboration with local authorities.
A spokesman for the Jerusalem municipality said that they did not know anything about these meetings.