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Dubai to sell Israeli wine made in occupied Golan Heights

The Israeli wine, manufactured by the Golan Heights Winery, is set to be distributed by UAE company African + Eastern from next week
A worker pours wine into a barrel at the Psagot Winery in the Israeli illegal settlement of Psagot, near the Palestinian West Bank city of Ramallah, on 19 November 2019 (AFP)

Israeli and Emirati companies signed a deal on Wednesday to sell wine from the occupied Syrian Golan Heights to Dubai, according to the Maariv newspaper

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The Israeli wine, manufactured by Golan Heights Winery, is set to be sold in Dubai from next week. 

The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed a controversial US-sponsored normalisation deal with Israel on 15 September in Washington.

Since then, Israel and the UAE have announced multiple deals in commerce, culture, tourism, the hi-tech industry and shipping.

An Emirati private marketing company, African + Eastern (A&E), one of the largest importer and distributor of in the UAE market, has signed the deal with Israeli-owned Golan Heights Winery.

The wine will be sold in wine shops, hotels and restaurants in Dubai, according to Maariv. 

Golan Heights Winery, one of the leading Israeli wineries, produces a range of wines, including brands Jordan, Gamla and Mount Hermon.

Yair Shapira, CEO of the winery, told Maariv that the distribution agreement with E&A "is a particularly exciting historical moment for the Israeli wine industry and for us in particular. [It has] unique potential".

Call for boycott

Israel occupied the Syrian Golan Heights during the 1967 Middle East war. Israeli settlements in the heights are deemed illegal according to international law. 

Last month, the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement called for the boycott of UAE companies and banks that signed deals with Israel. 

In a statement, BDS said that deals between Israel and such companies were happening while Israel was violating Palestinian rights, "which have continued for decades, including the plunder of more lands, displacement of their people and restrictions on them".

"The Israeli settler-colonial system and apartheid not only pose a threat to our Palestinian people, but also threaten all peoples of our region, including the brother Emirati people, who are resisting an oppressive regime on the one hand and normalisation with the Israeli enemy on the other," the statement said.