US and Israeli delegations leave for historic flight to UAE

Senior US and Israeli officials leave Israel aboard historic flight to Abu Dhabi for talks with UAE to finalize peace treaty.

Arutz Sheva Staff , | updated: 10:47 AM

Kushner, O'Brien, Ben-Shabbat board flight
Kushner, O'Brien, Ben-Shabbat board flight
Amos Ben Gershom/GPO

Senior Israeli and US officials boarded Flight LY 971 Monday morning, departing Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport for Abu Dhabi.

The El Al flight is the first direct commercial flight between Israel and the United Arab Emirates in history. In addition, Monday's flight is unique in that it will fly through Saudi airspace, despite the fact that Israel does not yet have official relations with Saudi Arabia.

"We are about to board a historic flight, the first commercial flight in history between Israel to a Gulf Arab country." said White House senior adviser Jared Kushner just before boarding the flight.

"While this is a historic flight, we hope that this will start an even more historic journey for the Middle East and beyond. I prayed yesterday at the [Western] Wall that Muslims and Arabs from throughout the world will be watching this flight, recognizing that we are all children of God, and that 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 throughout the world."

The American and Israeli delegations are slated to meet with senior UAE officials in the capital of Abu Dhabi Monday and Tuesday to hammer out the details of the Abraham Accords - the treaty normalizing relations between Israel and the UAE.

The visit will also include a trilateral meeting in Abu Dhabi between the heads of the delegations – National Security Advisor and head of the National Security Council Ben-Shabbat, US National Security Advisor O'Brien, Senior US Presidential Advisor Kushner and UAE National Security Advisor Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed. The head of the National Security Council will also hold meetings with additional senior UAE officials.

Prime Minister's Office Director General Ronen Peretz and Foreign Ministry Director General Alon Ushpiz are coordinating the work of government ministries in the civil and economic spheres. The discussions will be held in working groups composed of Israeli, Emirati and American representatives in the following areas: Diplomacy; finances; aviation and entry visas; health; culture and tourism; space, science and investments; innovation and trade.

President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is among the high-level US officials flying to Abu Dhabi, along with National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien, Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook, White House special envoy Avi Berkowitz, and other senior officials.

The Israeli delegation includes National Security Advisor and head of the National Security Council (NSC) Meir Ben-Shabbat, Prime Minister's Office (PMO) Acting Director General and delegation coordinator for economic issues Ronen Peretz, Cabinet Secretary Tzachi Braverman, Foreign Ministry Director General Alon Ushpiz, Health Ministry Director General Prof. Chezy Levy, and other officials.