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Dubai’s largest bank, DP World sign deals to explore Israeli links

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DP World and Dubai Customs said on Wednesday they will be exploring opportunities to develop trade links between Israel and the UAE, following the signing of a series of memorandums of understanding (MoUs).

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, group chairman and CEO of DP World, signed MoUs with DoverTower, a company owned by Shlomi Fogel, the co-owner of Israel Shipyards and Port of Eilat.

Also on Wednesday, it was announced that Emirates NBD, Dubai’s largest bank, and Bank Leumi Le-Israel, one of Israel’s leading lenders, have signed a MoU.

The signing, which marks Emirates NBD’s second agreement with an Israeli bank, follows the start of a broader engagement between the UAE and Israel to further peace, dialogue and stability and promote sustainable development.

On the DP World deal, Sulayem said the MoUs create a framework for the companies to work together in assessing opportunities to develop infrastructure for trade between Israel and the UAE, as well as within Israel and the region.

Under the agreements, DP World will assess the development of Israeli ports and free zones and the potential establishment of a direct shipping route between Eilat and Jebel Ali.

Dubai Customs said it will promote and facilitate trade between private entities in the two countries through customs best practice and seamless, innovative processes.

Drydocks World will also explore business opportunities with Israel Shipyards on a joint venture for developing, manufacturing and marketing ISL products.

Sulayem said: “The MoUs will contribute to the efforts to tap economic and trade cooperation opportunities, and facilitate development-oriented linkages between the two countries. DP World’s mission is to enable global trade – our work to build trade routes between the UAE, Israel and beyond will help our customers to do business in the region more easily and efficiently.”

Israel establishes full ties with Bahrain, UAE at White House

Bahrain and the UAE are the first Arab nations to establish relations with Israel since Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994

Fogel added: “I’m proud of our mutual friendship and vision to create a strategic partnership that will positively impact the global trade and economy while strengthening the commercial relationship between the state of Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

“I believe that this agreement is just the beginning of mutual and long collaboration and more agreements will follow between DP World and DoverTower across different industries. I am also happy to announce that DP World and Israel Shipyards will collaborate to establish a joint venture that will participate in the tender for privatisation of the Port of Haifa.”

Israel normalised relations with long-time foes Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates at a White House ceremony on Tuesday as President Donald Trump said similar US-brokered deals were close between the Jewish state and “five or six” other nations.

Speaking on the banking deal, Emirates NBD’s vice chairman and managing director Hesham Abdulla Al Qassim said: “We look forward to working together with Bank Leumi to explore areas of mutual economic and commercial cooperation. Our agreement demonstrates a further strengthening of our relationship with Israel’s banking industry, which will benefit our brand, our clients and the UAE economy, through new business and trade opportunities.”

Bahrain and the UAE are the first Arab nations to establish relations with Israel since Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

For the Mideast, the deals dubbed the Abraham Accords mark a distinct shift in a decades-old status quo where Arab countries have tried to maintain unity against Israel over its treatment of the stateless Palestinians.