JERUSALEM: Israel's president on Monday invited Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed to visit Jerusalem, praising his role in achieving a "noble and courageous" deal to normalize relations between Israel and the UAE.
Both countries announced on Thursday they would forge formal ties under a US-sponsored deal.
I sent a letter to Crown Prince @MohamedBinZayed and invited him to visit Jerusalem. I am hopeful that the agreement between our countries will help build and strengthen the trust between us and the peoples of the region, bring economic benefit and regional stability. pic.twitter.com/swz50lJUmT
— Reuven Rivlin (@PresidentRuvi) August 17, 2020
"In these fateful days, leadership is measured by its courage and ability to be groundbreaking and far-sighted," Israeli President Reuven Rivlin wrote in a letter to Sheikh Mohammed.
"I have no doubt that future generations will appreciate the way you, the brave and wise leaders, have restarted the discourse on peace, trust, dialogue between peoples and religions, cooperation and a promising future," Rivlin wrote.
"On behalf of the people of Israel and (me) personally, I take this opportunity to extend an invitation to Your Highness to visit Israel and Jerusalem and be our honoured guest," Rivlin said in the letter, which his spokesman released publicly.
"I am hopeful," Rivlin's letter went on, "that this step will help build and strengthen the trust between us and the peoples of the region, a trust that will promote understanding between us all.
"Such trust, as demonstrated in the noble and courageous act, will set our region forward, bring economic well-being and provide prosperity and stability to the people of the Middle East as a whole."
Palestinians have been angered by the agreement and Palestine Liberation Organization official Wassel Abu Youssef condemned Rivlin's invitation, saying "the visit of any Arab official to Jerusalem through the gate of normalization is rejected."
Israel seized the eastern part of the city in 1967 and annexed it in a move that has not won world recognition. It considers all of Jerusalem its capital. Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of the state they seek.