DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Telephone calls began ringing Sunday between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, marking the first concrete step of a US-brokered diplomatic deal between the nations that required Israel to halt plans to annex land sought by the Palestinians.
However, anger over the deal continued, with protesters in Pakistan criticizing the UAE and Iran making new threats about the accord, which will see the Emirates become the third Arab nation to currently recognize Israel.
Direct telephone calls have been blocked in the Emirates, a US-allied federation of seven sheikhdoms on the Arabian Peninsula, since its founding in 1971. That backed the position of Arab nations at the time, that Israel must grant concessions to the Palestinians before being recognized.
Since Thursday’s announcements, Associated Press journalists have tried to make calls between the nations without success. But around 1:15 p.m. Sunday, AP journalists in Jerusalem and Dubai could call each other from both landline and cellular phones registered to Israel’s country code +972.
Over an hour later, Emirati officials acknowledged that Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan had called his Israeli counterpart, Gabi Ashkenazi. The Israelis later acknowledged the call as well.