First commercial flight carrying a US-Israeli delegation touches down in Abu Dhabi.
History was made in Abu Dhabi when the first commercial flight carrying a US-Israeli delegation landed in the UAE capital on Monday at 3.40pm.
The word ‘peace’ in Arabic, Hebrew and English was emblazoned on the EI AI 971 flight portending the imminent peace and stability for the region that the new-found friendship between the UAE and Israel can bring.
On board, the ‘Making History’ motto featured prominently on each seat’s headrest covering, and complimentary fabric bags of the ‘Abraham Accord Inaugural Flight’ were distributed.
The arrival of the delegation follows the normalisation of relations between the two countries that was announced on August 13. As per the US-mediated peace accord, Israel has agreed to put a halt on the annexation in the West Bank in exchange of establishing diplomatic relations with the UAE.
The delegation, led by White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, was received at the airport by Dr Anwar Gargash, UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.
The UAE is the third Arab country to normalise ties with Israel after Egypt in 1978 and Jordan in 1994.
The head of Israel’s National Security Council, Meir Ben-Shabbat, read out his media statement first in Arabic with the Islamic greeting “Assalamualaykum,”, which means “Peace be upon you.”.
Prior to boarding from Tel Aviv, Kushner said: “While this is a historic flight, we hope it will start an even more historic journey for the Middle East and beyond.
“This is a very hopeful time and I believe that so much peace and property is possible in the region and across the world.”
Upon his arrival in Abu Dhabi, Kushner, who is believed to be the architect of America’s Middle East strategies, thanked His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, for his leadership and courage. “He is truly leading the new Middle East,” he said.
Kushner also said Palestinians “can’t be stuck in the past — they have to come to the table”.
“The message that we carry for the Palestinians is also one of hope,” he said. He also thanked Saudi Arabia for granting permission for the Israeli flight to cross its airspace.
US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien called Abu Dhabi “one of the great capital cities of the world”.
The delegation, comprising seven groups with representatives from both Israel and the UAE, will discuss diplomatic relations and foreign policy, investment, finance, health, civil space and aviation, tourism and culture; and ways to promote joint action and opportunities for cooperation. They will depart Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
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