The first commercial flight between Israel and the UAE landed in Abu Dhabi on Monday afternoon, marking an important moment in the controversial normalisation agreement between the two countries.
The El Al flight – emblazoned with the word “peace” in Arabic, Hebrew and English – took off from Tel Aviv Monday morning and passed through Saudi airspace – another first for an Israeli carrier.
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It carried leading Israeli security, aviation and business officials along with a US delegation led by senior White House advisor and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.
“[Crown Prince] Mohamed bin Zayed is truly leading the new Middle East,” he said, according to The National, saying the de-facto UAE ruler had displayed “leadership” and “courage” when pushing through the so-called “Abraham Accord”.
“On the plane, we asked the pilots to fly faster because there is great urgency between the people of both countries.”
Pilots waved Israeli, US, and UAE flags from the cockpit once the plane landed on the tarmac in Abu Dhabi to mark the first commercial flight from Israel to a Gulf state.
The Israeli officials will hold talks with UAE officials later on Monday.
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The flight, an Israeli El-Al airliner emblazoned with the Israeli national colors of blue and white as well as the Star of David.
The ‘historic’ flight marks another step towards implementing the August 13 normalization agreement between Israel and the UAE, which sparked anger across the Arab world.
The agreement is considered a severe blow to Palestinian efforts aimed at isolating Israel regionally and internationally until it ends its military occupation and apartheid-like system in occupied Palestine.
(Palestine Chronicle, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, Social Media)