A representative of Qatar’s royal family, Prince Khalifa al-Thani, is expected to visit Israel in November in a bid to promote cooperation in the field of high-tech between the two countries.
This will be the first official visit by a Qatar royalty to the Jewish state.
Al-Thani will arrive in Israel following the inauguration of the Israel-Palestine Business Arbitration Center, a commercial initiative led by Oren Shachor, president of the International Chamber of Commerce in Israel, and his Palestinian counterpart, Munib al-Masri.
The center offers arbitration services in disputes of up to $7 million between Israeli and Palestinian businesspeople.
Commercial relations between Israel and Qatar are taking place these days on informal channels, which include trade in goods but hardly any trade in high-tech products.
The Qatari government is interested in strengthening its local high-tech sector by acquiring knowledge and technologies and by encouraging Israeli high-tech companies to exports work and development projects to Qatar, rather than to India or Eastern Europe, in order to provide jobs for local engineers graduating from prestigious universities abroad.
The visit’s itinerary will be built in the coming months, and al-Thani is expected to meet with senior Israeli officials from the high-tech and venture capital industry.
The visit was scheduled over the weekend during a meeting between al-Thani and Shachor aimed at advancing trade relations between the countries.
Prince al-Thani is said to be very close to Qatar’s emir, prime minister and foreign minister and is considered a key figure in the country in terms of foreign trade and business relations, as well as in regards to trade agreements and regional agreements in the Persian Gulf emirates.
The Qatari prime minister was informed beforehand of al-Thani’s meeting with the Israeli official.
Shachor, formerly the coordinator of the government’s activities in the territories and president and chairman of the EAPC Group of Companies (Eilat Ashkelon oil pipeline), met earlier this week with a senior Iranian political and economic official.
The Iranian, who recognized Shachor as the ICC Israel representative, approached him together with another senior economic figure, and the three engaged in a long conversation. The official expressed the Iranian people’s hope for a major change in the upcoming elections in their country and for the downfall President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.