U.S.–Israeli delegation lands in Abu Dhabi in historic first commercial flight between UAE and Israel

TEL AVIV / ABU DHABI — In a historic first, an El Al Israel Airlines flight landed in the Emirati capital of Abu Dhabi on Monday carrying a U.S.–Israeli delegation on the first commercial flight between the two countries.

In a joint statement issued by the U.S., Israeli, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) hours after the arrival of the delegation, all sides stressed that the agreement between Israel and the UAE was a bold first step towards lasting peace.

“The Emirati–Israeli agreement stopped plans to annex Palestinian lands,” said the statement. “Furthermore, it provides new thinking to address the problems.

The statement urged the Palestinians to return to negotiations and take advantage of the opportunity for peace.

The countries also announced cooperation in investment, foreign policy, and civil aviation, indicating that discussions would begin to formalize bilateral cooperation.

The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, confirmed that his country had decided to abolish the law of boycotting Israel in favor of peace.

On the exterior of the plane carrying the delegation was the word “peace” written in Arabic, English, and Hebrew.

The delegation included several Israeli representatives, Advisor and Head of the Israeli National Security Council Meir Ben Shabbat, White House adviser and son-in-law of U.S. President Donald Trump Jared Kushner, and U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien

In a press statement made via Twitter, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the Israeli delegation had delivered an official invitation to the UAE to send an official delegation to Tel Aviv.

He also indicated that the Israeli–Emirati normalization agreement does not include the sale of F-35 jet fighters from the U.S. to the UAE.