The first direct commercial flight between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) took off late Monday morning at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport, according to an AFP team.
The flight LY971 of the Israeli air carrier EL AL, carrying an American-Israeli delegation led by Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is scheduled to land this afternoon in Abu Dhabi.
This flight could be the “beginning of an even more historic journey to the Middle East,” White House adviser Jared Kushner said Monday before boarding. It is the first non-stop Israeli-registered flight to ever cross Saudi-Arabia and land in the UAE.
On Monday, representatives from Israel, the UAE and the United States will be discussing topics of aviation, tourism, trade, finance, health, energy and defense. The meetings will expand on the UAE-Israeli Peace Agreement, or Abraham Accord, which was brokered by the US.
The UAE is currently the third Arab country to recognise Israel as a state. Since the founding of Israel in 1948, eight wars have been waged between the Israeli army and Arab forces supporting the Palestinians over ownership of the land.
Lately, it seems that Israel is improving ties with multiple Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
On 13 August, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the introduction of the flights by saying this marked “a new era” in Arab-Israeli relations. The announcement came following a trilateral discussion between the United States, the UAE and Israel, which concluded with agreeing to “a full peace agreement with ambassadorial exchanges and trade”.
“The Emirates are going to invest significant sums in Israel… this is an opening for peace in the region.”
In August, the UAE repealed its boycott on trade with Israel and Israeli enterprises, allowing financial trade between the countries. Direct phone lines between Israel and the UAE were opened.
The Brussels Times