ABU DHABI, U.A.E.—President Donald Trump’s Senior Advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, led a group of senior U.S. and Israeli officials on the first commercial flight from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (U.A.E), on Monday, August 31.
Flight 971 on an El Al Boeing 737 took off from Ben Gurion International Airport for a flight time of 3 hours and 20 minutes.
Kushner said a few words before the flight took off: “While this is a historic flight, we hope that it will start an even more historic journey in the Middle East and beyond…The future does not have to be predetermined by the past. This is a very hopeful time, and I believe that so much peace and prosperity is possible in this region and around the world.”
“Peace” was painted on the Boeing 737’s cockpit in Arabic, English, and Hebrew, and Israeli and US flags were flown along tarmac next to a red carpet leading up to the plane.
The aircraft was not only the first commercial flight from Israel to the UAE, but made aviation history as the first commercial Israeli airliner to fly within Saudi Airspace.
The historic flight comes after the U.A.E formally agreed to establish a diplomatic relationship with Israel on August 13th.
Along with Kushner, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien is heading the U.S. delegation in cooperation talks between Israel and the UAE about aviation, tourism, trade, health, energy, and security.
A statement released by the Israeli Government Monday, August 31, said the delegates would be apart of “working meetings of joint teams on a range of issues ahead of the signing of cooperation agreements in the civil and economic spheres.”
The U.S. delegation’s visit to Abu Dhabi will also include a meeting between Kusher, the U.A.E’s National Security Advisor Sheikh Tahnoun Bin Zayed, and Israel’s National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat.
This normalization deal of diplomatic relations between Israel and the U.A.E was the first made between Israel and an Arab country in over 20 years.
In a statement on August 31st, Hanan Ashrawi, executive committee member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, tweeted the U.S. delegates were “scrambling to convince as many Arab and Muslim leaders as possible” to give President Trump a boost in the November 2020 election.
“They will be a prop at the backdrop of a meaningless spectacle for a ridiculous agreement that will not bring peace to the region,” said Ashrawi said about next month’s expected ceremonial meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the U.A.E.