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Diplomatic relations with UAE will boost Palestinian economy

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The historic bilateral mutual establishment of diplomatic relations between the United Arab Emirates and Israel will be a huge boost for the Palestinian economy within Israel and in the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority.
by Ben Levitas, Cape Town | Aug 20, 2020

We can expect tens of thousands of Emiratis to flock to Israel, where they will naturally seek out those amenities such as hotels, restaurants, entertainment, and tourist sites which cater to their cultural preferences. This will particularly benefit those hotels in East Jerusalem which are owned and managed by Palestinians. Some of the best hotels like The American Colony Hotel and the Seven Arches Intercontinental Hotel, both rich in historic significance, are located in East Jerusalem. Certain visitors will obviously want to visit friends and families located in the areas beyond the Green Line, in towns like Ramallah and Jenin, where there are no shortages of quality hotels and guest houses.

Arab cuisine is much appreciated throughout Israel, and some of the most vaunted restaurants are located even in Tel Aviv, where many of them are Arab owned.

The open-air markets and those small shops hugging the narrow alleys of the “Old City” will be significant beneficiaries particularly of those tourists visiting the Haram esh-Sharif on which are located the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aksa Mosques, the third most holy sites in Islam. The largest part of the “Old City” is the Arab Quarter, and it’s populated by many eateries where visiting Arab tourists will be spoilt for choice for authentic Arab food.

Palestinian tour guides and travel agents are already well-established, catering to pilgrims and tourists, and the demand for their services is likely to increase substantially.

With Dubai playing a leading role in Arab high tech, it follows that businessmen and investors will seek out opportunities in Israel, the “start-up nation”. Here, too, they will find many opportunities to link up with Palestinians, as already there are many Palestinian-Israeli start-ups.

In years gone by, Beirut in Lebanon was a magnet for Arab and Emirati tourists as it offered a blend of cosmopolitan and sophisticated culture that was unique in the Arab world. With Beirut now in ruins, the cosmopolitan attractions of Israel’s diverse population will offer a fitting alternative.

Hopefully, Palestinians will now also see that co-operation offers a future of hope rather than despair.

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