Calls for boycott as UAE opens first exhibition with Israel artists

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The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) is calling for a boycott of the first-ever art exhibition of Israeli artists in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which opened recently at a Dubai gallery.

The exhibition, "Abyss of Bliss" features the work of three Israeli artists, Ariela Wertheimer, Keren Shpilsher, and 18-year-old photographer Yinon Gal-On.

In a press release, the gallery says the exhibition was organised to celebrate "the occasion of the peace agreement between the UAE and Israel," signed last year as part of the so-called "Abraham Accords". The move was condemned by Palestinians and Arabs in the region.

"When the peace agreement between Israel and the UAE was signed, I was very excited about the world of opportunities that opened up for the two nations," said Gal-On.

"I didn't imagine that in a few months I would present my photographs in a gallery in Dubai."

However, PACBI, argues that art in this case is being used as a tool in the service of "normalising colonialism and repression."

"Opening the first exhibition of Israeli artists in the region is yet another attempt to popularise normalisation."

Palestinians have condemned the accords as a stab in their back and a direct affront to their cause to liberate their lands from Israeli occupation.

The statement added that the Emirati public "still sees the Israeli settler-colonial apartheid regime as its first enemy despite attempts to suppress and silence criticism."

"The Israeli and Emirati regimes have been employing sports, art, and academics in disguising their security and military alliance which brings nothing but destruction and oppression to the nations of the region," the statement added.