First-ever direct Israel-UAE flight lands in Abu Dhabi with US, Israeli officials

(Source: Twitter)

New Delhi (NVI): Weeks after Israel and UAE signed a historic peace deal towards normalisation of relations between them, the first-ever direct Israel-UAE flight today landed in Abu Dhabi with US and Israeli officials to take the talks between the two countries ahead.

El Al Flight 971, carrying a delegation of senior Israeli and US officials became the first Israeli aircraft to fly over Saudi airspace. The flight landed in Abu Dhabi in the evening.

It was the first time an Israeli plane was given permission by UAE to use its airspace, The Times of Israel reported.

The plane carried the word ‘peace’, printed in Arabic, English and Hebrew right above the cockpit window.

Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and Israel’s National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat are leading the delegation.

The Boeing 737-900 jet, from Israel’s national carrier fleet, was able to shave nearly four hours off the flight time. The flight was allowed to cross Saudi Arabian airspace, normally blocked to Israeli air traffic.

Had Saudi not permitted the flight to enter, the three hours and 20-minute flight would have taken more than seven hours, said an AP report.

On Saturday, the UAE repealed a law boycotting Israel which had been in place since 1972. Earlier this month, the two countries opened direct telephone services for the first time, BBC reported.

On August 13, Israel and United Arab Emirates (UAE) reached a historic deal to normalise ties after 49 years of conflict in relations, with the help of US President Donald Trump, who had announced the diplomatic breakthrough.

By signing the peace agreement, the UAE became the third Arab nation after Egypt (in 1979) and Jordan (in 1994) to recognise and establish diplomatic relations with Israel.

In return, President Netanyahu vowed to stall his plans to annex the highly-contested territory of West Bank.

-ARK