In 2020 a normalization agreement was signed between Israel and the UAE, establishing official diplomatic relations between the countries for the first time. That said, since 2007 Israeli cyber and security companies have been operating in different ways in the UAE. Since the agreement, Israel and the UAE have conducted close official military ties and conducted significant arms and cyber deals.The real winners in the Israel-UAE deal? Arms dealers
Historically, UAE countries were part of the Arab boycott of Israel, as well as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) boycott since 1973. While the Arab boycott was officially lifted as part of the Oslo accords in the early 90’s, only in 2020 were diplomatic relations established between the countries.Oil, guns, and gas: How Gulf money will fuel Israel’s arms industry This normalization agreement focused on economic, energy, and military trade between the countries.Full text of the ‘Treaty of Peace’ signed by Israel and the United Arab Emirates
In the nine months after the two countries signed the normalization agreement at the White House, Israel and the UAE have signed extensive trade and cooperation deals, and bilateral trade is already expected to have exceeded $354 million. More than 200,000 Israeli tourists have traveled to the UAE, the Israeli Foreign Ministry reported.In Historic UAE Visit, Lapid Says ‘Israel Wants Peace, We’re Not Going Anywhere’
The biggest deal between the Emirates and Israel has been Delek Drilling’s $1 billion sale in 2021 of its stake in an offshore Mediterranean gas field to the UAE’s Mubadala Petroleum. State-owned Israel Aerospace Industries has signed drone-development deals with Edge Group, a government-owned defense company in the UAE. And OurCrowd, a Jerusalem-based venture capital investment platform, set up a subsidiary in the UAE and last November became the first Israeli VC registered by the Abu Dhabi Global Market to operate in the UAE.UAE-Israel cyber intelligence firm grows with its perch in the Gulf
In January 2022 trade between the UAE and Israel reached $2 billion, up from $250 million annually before the “normalization” agreement.UAE inches closer to “Israel” with $100 million tech sector investment Abu Dhabi’s Mubdala Investment Co. has invested up to $20 million in six Israel-based or focused venture capital companies in the technology sector.UAE inches closer to “Israel” with $100 million tech sector investment
In 2007, the UAE contracted 4D Security Solutions, a U.S.-based firm headed by an Israeli expat, Mati Kochavi, to roll out a “smart” surveillance systems throughout Abu Dhabi.Gulf Cyber Cooperation with Israel: Balancing Threats and Rights In reality, a crucial part of the technology was provided by an Israel-based subsidiary, Kochavi’s Logic Industries. (In 2015, the company laid off over a third of its Israeli workforce in order to maintain a contract with a Gulf client).Logic Industries Lays Off Israeli Employees for Major Arab Client This project, completed in 2016, resulted in “Falcon Eye,” one of the most intrusive city surveillance systems in the world.ICJHR submission to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the negative effects of terrorism on the enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms in the United Arab … Continue reading
NSO Group, an Israeli company that operates the spyware Pegasus, has operated in the UAE since 2016.HIDE AND SEEK Tracking NSO Group’s Pegasus Spyware to Operations in 45 Countries In fact, the UAE became one of the primary clients for the Pegasus cyber intelligence solution.Abraham Accords treaties continue to promote defense cooperation in the Middle East
UAE’s Ministry of Interior since reportedly used hacking technology of the Israeli cyber company Cellebrite since 2011.Cellebrite Sold Phone Hacking Tech to Repressive Regimes, Data Suggests Cellebrite signed a deal in Abu Dhabi in 2020, Globes reported. The deal is estimated to be worth $3 million, and was apparently signed with a government agency in Abu Dhabi. Globes reported that the deal was brokered by former Israeli Mossad executive David Meidan.Israeli cyber intelligence co Cellebrite signs deal in UAE In July 2021 Cellebrite published a job offer for a Director of Strategic Accounts to be located in the UAE.Israeli cyber intelligence co Cellebrite signs deal in UAE – Globes
In November 2021 Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Emirati defense conglomerate EDGE have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop advanced uncrewed surface vessels. Under the MoU, the companies will jointly design a ‘first-in-class’ series of 170 modular uncrewed surface vessels (m-USV) to be used for all types of military and commercial applications. EDGE’s entity ADSB will collaborate with IAI to develop these USVs.IAI and EDGE agree to jointly develop modular uncrewed surface vessels The USV development partnership is happening between IAI and SIGN4L a subsidiary of EDGE.UAE defence group Edge secures three new contracts
IAI opened a new office in Abu Dhabi and signed a $100 million contract to convert Boeing 777-300ER passenger jets to cargo planes.Israel Aerospace eyes 25 percent share sale and more UAE deals
In November 2021 Elbit Systems launched a new venture in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The new subsidiary, Elbit Systems Emirates (ESE), will seek to foster a long-term cooperation with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Armed Forces, oversee customization of solutions to operational needs of end users and lead the transfer of technologies to local partners.
Also in 2021 the first-ever UAE-Israel technology fund Synaptech Capital by the Israeli Avnon Holding was established. Their mission is to create a ecosystem of technology companies in the UAE, investing in start-ups in the UAE, Israel and other countries in the Gulf region. Investments in industries like Cybersecurity, Public Safety and “Smart City” technologies. They also established the SynUp Innovation Centre and the SynUp Coding School in the UAE.UAE-ISRAEL FUND SYNAPTECH CAPITAL GAINS INVESTORS FROM NEW YORK
In January 2022 Elbit Systems announced its United Arab Emirates-based subsidiary was awarded a $53 million deal to supply airborne defense and electronic warfare systems for the UAE Air Force’s tanker aircraft. The five-year deal includes delivery of a multi-turret Direct Infrared Countermeasure (DIRCM) capability.Israel’s Elbit Systems To Supply DIRCM, EW Systems For UAE Air Force’s Tankers
In January 2022 UAE company Moro Hub, a subsidiary of Digital DEWA, the digital arm of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), teamed up with the Israeli surveillance company BriefCam to develop Integrated Physical Security Platform (IPSP).Moro Hub teams up with BriefCam to develop IPSP
The Israeli company Skylock, by Avnon Group, also announced agreements to deliver anti-drone dome systems to the UAE in 2022.https://www.ynetnews.com/business/article/sy049sh6f Skylock is partnering withthe Emirati company Rise International to market their products in the UAE.
After the “normalization” deal a company named BlackWall Global, a company that is led by a collection of Israeli intelligence veterans and computer scientists, was unveiled. For example the chairman of the board of Black Wall is Asher Ben Artzi, who worked for the Israeli Shin Bet and its national police force.UAE-Israel cyber intelligence firm grows with its perch in the Gulf Abdulla Baqer who is a strategic partner of BlackWall is also the president of the UAE-Israel Business Council.War in Ukraine – Threats and Risks of Cyber War and Cyber Terrorism
Rafael SPYDER Deal
In September 2022 it was announced that Israel has agreed to sell the Rafael Spyder air defense system to the UAE.Israel to Sell Rafael Spyder Air Defense System to UAE: Report
June 2021: Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid made a state visit in the United Arab Emirates for the inauguration of the Israeli Embassy in Abu Dhabi.In Historic UAE Visit, Lapid Says ‘Israel Wants Peace, We’re Not Going Anywhere’
October 2021: The head of the Emirati air force, Ibrahim Nasser Muhammed al-Alawi, arrived in Israel this week in a landmark first visit to observe the military’s massive biennial Blue Flag exercise, an international aerial drill being held this month over the Negev desert.In landmark visit, UAE air chief in Israel to observe ‘Blue Flag’ exercise
November 2021: The head of the Israeli air force, Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin met with his Emirati counterpart and visited the Dubai Airshow in Dubai.Israeli air chief makes first ever visit to UAE
February 2022: Israeli Police Commissioner made first ever official visit to the UAE to further cooperation in fields of homeland security and surveillance technologies.Abraham Accords treaties continue to promote defense cooperation in the Middle East
In April 2021 Israeli fighter jets flew alongside Emirati aircraft as part of a major international aerial exercise hosted by Greece, simulating in-air dogfights, large airstrikes and rescue operations, the Israeli military reported.Israeli, UAE fighter jets fly together in large international exercise in Greece
In November 2021 Forces from the UAE, Bahrain, Israel and the US participated in a joint maritime exercise in the Red Sea.Israeli Navy’s First Drill With Gulf States Kicks Off in Red Sea
Also in November 2021 the Israel National Cyber Directorate led an international cyber drill in Dubai in the Israeli pavillon at World Expo Dubai. The drill was held in partnership with the Cyber Security Council of the UAE. The drill included participants of the US, Germany, Morocco, Greece, Bahrain and the UAE.
Israeli companies that exhibited at IDEX 2021 arms fair in Abu Dhabi: Aeronautics, Amicell, Attenti, Avnon Group, Beezz, Bird Aerosystems, Camero, Controp, Double Shoot, Edgy Bees, Elbit Systems, Emtan, Ewave, Valert, Hornbill, Plasan, Imco, International Intelligence Agency, ISDEF, ISM Safes, IAI, Israel Shipyards, IWI, Jenovice, Lior, Marom, Vikisense, Ophir Optics, Phantom Technologies, Rafael, Reshef Graf, RP, Sibat, SK Group, Smartshooter, Steadicopter, Trinity Group, Unirom, Uniscope, Uvision, Video Inform, Vidisco.Idex 2021: First Israeli arms companies debut at defence expo
Skylock’s DOME system was exhibited in February 2021 in the UAE at IDEX and afterwards several deals were signed. UAE company IGG has signed a deal.
IDEX organizers signed an agreement with the organizers of The Israel Defence Exhibition (ISDEF) to coordinate Israeli participation in the conference in Abu Dhabi. As part of the agreement, companies from the Gulf’s defense sector will also take part in ISDEF 2021/22.Israeli arms and defense companies invited to Abu Dhabi for Middle East’s largest exhibition of its kind
Dubai Airshow 2021:
Israeli companies that exhibited at Dubai Airshow: Astronautics, Elbit, Elta, IAI, Nir-Or, Rafael, Sibat, Sinbad, Tomer, Uvision.Dubai Airshow 2021, 14-18 November 2021, DWC, Dubai
UMEX (Unmanned Systems Exhibition) 2022:
Israeli companies participated in the UAE’s UMEX exhibition in Abu Dhabi: Elbit Systems, Copterpix and Avnon Group (Skylock, iStar, TAR, and BeeSense) BeeSense showcased multi-sensor surveillance technologies (Mantis3, FireFly, Bee5). The exhibition ws organized by the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions partnering with the Tawazun Economic Council, in cooperation with the United Arab Emirates’ Defense Ministry and supported by the UAE’s Armed Forces.
India – Israel – UAE
In July 2022 pime ministers of India, Israel, UAE and the president of the USA participated in first I2U2 Summit, that was hold virtually. The summit was aimed to inspire joint investements.
According to the newspaper Globes, at a meeting of the Israel-India Chamber of Commerce that took place in Dubai, UAE, in 2021, it was estimated that the value of trilateral trade between the UAE, Israel and India could reach $100 billion till 2030.
Usage of Israeli Arms
In 2016, the UAE used Israeli spyware, Pegasus, operated by the infamous NSO Group, in a hacking attempt against Ahmed Mansoor, an Emirati human rights defender.Israel-UAE deal: The two-(police)-state solution Today, Mansoor is serving a 10-year sentence for his human rights work. DarkMatter, an Emirati cyber intelligence program engaged in surveillance of other governments, militants, and human rights activists critical of the monarchy, also has ties to Israel.Hacking a Prince, an Emir and a Journalist to Impress a Client – The New York Times
It was revealed that Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum, the runaway daughter of the ruler of Dubai, was captured in 2018 with the help of Pegasus spyware.The role of the UAE and Saudi Arabia in the Pegasus spyware saga
In December 2020, University of Toronto-based Citizen Lab disclosed that Saudi and Emirati authorities used Pegasus to hack 36 Al Jazeera journalists.Al Jazeera journalists hacked using Israeli firm’s spyware
In 2021 the Guardian reported that more than 400 people from the UK appeared in a leaked list of numbers targeted by the Spyware Pegasus between 2017-2019. The principal government responsible for selecting the UK numbers is United Arab Emirates, per the report.UAE linked to listing of hundreds of UK phones in Pegasus project leak
In November 2021 the Newspaper TheMarker reported that NSO Group has sold its Pegasus spyware to two UAE leaders: the ruler of Abu Dhabi Mohammad bin Zayed, and the ruler of Dubai Mohammad bin Rashid al-Maktoum.Two UAE Princes Each Got Their Own Personal NSO Spyware
In October 2021 England’s High Court ruled that Sheikh al-Maktoum gave “express or implied authority” to hack his ex-wife’s phone using Israeli Pegasus software. Also hacked were five members of her entourage, and two of the princess’ lawyers.UK court rules Dubai ruler hacked ex-wife’s phone with Pegasus
Circles: A lawsuit in 2018 against Circles filed by Israeli lawyers Alaa Mahajna and Muhammad Dahleh, gave an example of at least one case where the manager of Circles Technologies, looked to sell the company’s spyware to high-ranking government members of the UAE, hacked four requested phones and sent the data to the client.Lawsuit Asks to Restrict Sales of Israeli Spyware
Human Rights Violations
In 2019 Amnesty International documented several cases in which the rights of detainees were disregarded most often by the State Security Agency (SSA). Arrests without warrants, torture and disappearances were all documented in relations to detainees, and especially political opposition. The authorities continued to arbitrarily detain and prosecute peaceful dissenters, and opposition voices, including many journalists. While no new executions were reported, courts continued to issue new death sentences, primarily against foreign nationals for violent crimes.Everything you need to know about human rights in United Arab Emirates – Amnesty International
Externally, the UAE, alongside Saudi Arabia, is a co-leader of the coalition conducting armed intervention in the armed conflict in Yemen since 2015. The coalition is implicated in war crimes and other serious violations of international law and gross human rights violations.Everything you need to know about human rights in United Arab Emirates – Amnesty International