Israeli Labour Party chief “secretly visited” UAE

Avi Gabbay

Israeli Labour Party leader Avi Gabbay secretly visited Abu Dhabi last month and met with three senior Emirati officials, Israeli media are reporting.

The three officials Gabbay met are ministers or even higher-ranked officials, Channel 10 said.

During the meetings, he discussed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, US President Donald Trump’s peace plan, the Arab Peace Initiative, Iran and the political situation in Israel, according to the report.

Gabbay was said to have flown to Abu Dhabi on a commercial flight via the Jordanian capital Amman. He was protected by local security forces during his visit. Immediately upon returning to Israel, he reportedly updated the head of the Mossad spy agency on the content of his meetings.

The TV station said the visit was the latest in a series of diplomatic meetings Gabbay has held with Arab officials over the past year, including meetings with Jordan’s King Abdullah and senior advisers to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

The report comes as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to improve ties with Arab and Muslim countries, including Chad, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

In late October, Culture Minister Miri Regev visited Abu Dhabi to attend a judo tournament. Not only did the UAE permit the sounding of the Israeli national anthem twice at the competition in honour of two Israeli gold medalists, but Emirati officials also brought Regev on a tour of Abu Dhabi’s grand Sheikh Zayed Mosque.

The Emiratis have yet to comment on this story.

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