New era for Middle Eastern affairs with the first Israeli El Al flight to the UAE

A US-Israeli delegation led by White House adviser Jared Kushner arrived Monday in Abu Dhabi, on the historic first commercial flight from Tel Aviv to mark the normalization of ties between the Jewish state and the UAE. The word “peace” was written in Arabic, English and Hebrew on the cockpit of the El Al flight that landed at the VIP terminal in the Emirates capital where US flags flew alongside the Star of David banner.

SOURCE: ARAB NEWS

“While this is a historic flight, we hope that it will start an even more historic journey in the Middle East and beyond,” Kushner, who is President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and a key architect of his Middle East policy, said before boarding. “The future does not have to be predetermined by the past. This is a very hopeful time.”

The landmark direct flight by Israel’s national carrier, numbered LY971 in a nod to the UAE’s international dialing code, is due to return on Tuesday with the number 972, matching Israel’s dialing code.

The agreement to normalize ties was announced by Trump on Aug. 13, making the UAE the first Gulf country and only the third Arab nation to establish relations with Israel.

Unlike Egypt, which made peace with its former battlefield enemy in 1979, and Jordan, which followed in 1994, the UAE has never fought a war with Israel.

Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat, who was also on the flight to the UAE, said “our goal is to achieve a joint working plan to advance relations in a very broad range of areas.