UAE nears deal on Israeli satellite


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The United Arab Emirates is close to signing a deal that would give it access to the high-resolution imagery of an Israeli satellite.

Defense News reported Monday that a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries, ImageSat International, is in talks with Abu Dhabi to provide access to the Eros B commercial high-resolution imaging satellite. The satellite was launched in 2006 and has a life span of about 10 years. The deal is similar to an agreement that gives the Arabian emirate access to the Eros A satellite, which will cease operating in 2010.

The deal is estimated at less than $20 million a year. The technology of the satellite is based on spycraft manufactured by IAI.

Israel and the moderate United Arab Emirates do not have formal diplomatic relations, though Israel has operated what Defense News calls "an informal and extremely discreet" interest office in Abu Dhabi. More open relations are unlikely now due to lingering anger over Israel’s recent military operation in Gaza.

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