Israeli plane makes history with first flight to UAE

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  • An Israeli airliner made a historic first commercial flight from Tel Aviv to the United Arab Emirates on Monday, emphasising new diplomatic ties between the two countries.

    The El Al Boeing 737 – with the word “peace” printed in Arabic, English and Hebrew above the cockpit – took off from Tel Aviv bound for the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, with a joint delegation of American and Israeli diplomats aboard, including Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor.

    The flight from Ben Gurion airport was expected to land in Abu Dhabi around 1.05pm (BST), after flying over Saudi Arabia, one of many countries that has continued a historic boycott of Israel that followed the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

    Earlier this month the UAE announced it would become only the third Middle Eastern country to normalise relations with Israel, in a deal motivated by a common hostility to Iran. It has been condemned as a “betrayal” by the Palestinian leadership.

    Ahead of the symbolic flight, Mr Kushner claimed that other Arab countries would soon follow the UAE’s lead, although he did not specify when.

    “While this peace agreement was thought by many to be impossible, the stage is now set for even more,” he said, adding that normalisation would bring “previously unthinkable” economic, security ties and tourism between the two countries.

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