The Emirati and Bahraini envoys to the United States have joined a virtual event, hosted by the Israeli embassy in Washington, commemorating the third day of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.
Yousef al-Otaiba and Shaikh Abdulla bin Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, the ambassadors of the UAE and Bahrain to the US, participated at the candle-lighting ceremony on Saturday.
It came almost three months after Abu Dhabi and Manama signed normalization pacts with the occupying Israeli regime during an official ceremony hosted by US President Donald Trump at the White House.
“This year, I’m lighting the Hanukkah candles with you at the same time the Jewish community in the UAE are lighting their Hanukkah candles. Now that is peace,” Otaiba said. “Next year, let us hope we can celebrate this holiday together in person.”
“This year may look and feel a little different, as the COVID pandemic continues to impact our daily lives. But I’m still filled with hope. Hope that in 2021, will bring a brand new start for us,” he added.
The Bahraini ambassador said, “In a time of hardship for us all, it was that flame of desire, that desire for peace, that prevailed.”
“This year, may the hope for peace that exists in each of us burn brightly enough to illuminate the desire in others. As on the menorah, let our one candle be surrounded by others, radiating the light of hope on whatever shadows are cast by those wishing to perpetuate darkness and fear,” he noted.
Israel’s ambassador Ron Dermer said both envoys “played a critical role in forging that historic breakthrough,” referring to the normalization deals.
“It was the year of the pandemic, but it was also the year of peace,” he claimed.
Dermer also spoke to Moroccan Ambassador to Washington Princess Lalla Joumala Alaoui, agreeing to meet her soon to examine ways to promote Tel Aviv-Rabat ties.
On Thursday, Morocco became the fourth Arab state this year, after the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan, to announce it had agreed to forge formal diplomatic relations with Israel.
Palestinians have condemned the normalization agreements as a treacherous “stab in the back” in their struggle against the Israeli occupation.