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Where are the Gulf Arab tourists? Israel’s hopes fall short

KEYT

By ISABEL DEBRE
Associated Press

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s agreement with the United Arab Emirates to open diplomatic ties in 2020 brought an electrifying sense of achievement to a country long ostracized in the Middle East. At the time, Israeli officials insisted that the new ties with the UAE, and soon after with Bahrain, would not remain between governments but become society-wide pacts, stoking mass tourism and friendly exchanges between people long at odds. Now over two years since the breakthrough accords, the expected windfall of Gulf Arab tourists to Israel has been little more than a trickle. Experts say the lack of Emirati and Bahraini tourists reflects Israel’s long-standing pariah status in the Arab world and reveals the limits of the Abraham Accords.

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