UAE seeking to purchase Israel's Iron Dome missile system: Report

More than two months after the United Arab Emirates signed a US-brokered agreement at the White house to normalize relations with the Tel Aviv regime, Abu Dhabi’s crown prince and de facto ruler of the Persian Gulf country is now interested in purchasing Israeli Iron Dome missile system.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has expressed his great enthusiasm to acquire the system, which is developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries, Arabic-language New al-Khalij news website reported on Thursday.

The report added that bin Zayed believes the Pentagon will support the UAE’s efforts to procure the military hardware, given the fact that the Raytheon Company is the major partner in co-production of key components for the Iron Dome’s Tamir intercepting missile.

New al-Khalij went on to say that Emirati military officials consider Iron Dome missile system to be very effective and successful, but added that one of its downsides is that its launchers are all located at the same site.

Therefore, any sale of Iron Dome to the UAE will be preceded by inquiries about its technical specifications and capabilities, and a review will also be conducted to ensure that the system meets the Persian Gulf state’s needs.

The report highlighted that the UAE is currently examining the I-Dome version of the Iron Dome system, which apparently has greater maneuverability and manufacturer officials intend to integrate a battlefield management system (BMS) into it.

UAE launches tourist visas for Israelis

Moreover, the UAE launched tourist visas for Israelis on Thursday, in the latest move following the normalization of ties between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv.

The Emirati Foreign Ministry “announced the activation of tourist entry visas through airlines and travel and tourism offices for Israeli passport holders,” the UAE’s official WAM news agency reported.

The UAE and Israel are hoping for rapid dividends from the US-brokered normalization deal signed in September as their economies are hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

They have already signed treaties on direct flights and visa-free travel, along with accords on investment protection, science and technology.

On September 15, United States President Donald Trump hosted a White House ceremony, where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed normalization agreements with Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani.

The normalization deals have drawn widespread condemnation from Palestinians, who seek an independent state in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital. They say the deals ignore their rights and do not serve the Palestinian cause.

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