The first-ever direct commercial flight between Israel and the Arab Gulf touched down at the United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi International Airport Monday afternoon.
The plane, El Al Flight LY 971, landed in Abu Dhabi at 2:38 p.m. Israel time (3:38 local time), bringing a US and an Israeli delegation to the UAE capital city for high-level talks with the UAE towards the finalization of a peace treaty between Israel and the UAE.
The flight also made history as the first time an El Al plane is known to have flown through Saudi airspace, after Saudi Arabia gave permission to Israel, despite not having formal relations with the Jewish state.
"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.