US officials announce first Israel-UAE commercial flight for next week

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Senior Trump administration officials will join Israeli government leaders on the first commercial flight from Israel to the United Arab Emirates next week, highlighting the historic decision by the two Middle East countries to normalize relations.

A White House official told The Hill on Tuesday that senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law, would lead the U.S. delegation alongside national security adviser Robert O’Brien. The plane used for the flight will likely be an Israeli El Al airliner, The Associated Press reported.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly announced that his nation’s top security official, Meir Ben-Shabbat, would lead Israel’s delegation.

“This is a historic agreement,” Netanyahu said Tuesday, according to the AP. “It will spur growth. It will help bring general economic growth, especially during the coronavirus era. I hope that other countries in our region will join the circle of peace.”

Next week’s flight from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi follows an agreement between the U.S., the UAE and Israel earlier this month that involved Israel halting its annexation of Palestinian territories.

Trump has vowed to build on the progress of the UAE-Israel agreement, promising to strike a deal with Iran’s leaders within days if he’s reelected in November. Foreign policy experts, however, are skeptical that an agreement between Washington and Tehran could be reached as long as tough sanctions remain in place on Iran.

Tags Abu Dhabi Benjamin Netanyahu commercial flight Diplomacy Donald Trump El Al Iran Israel Jared Kushner Middle East Robert O'Brien Tehran Tel Aviv UAE

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