First flight to UAE with Israeli tourists lands in Dubai

First flight to UAE with Israeli tourists lands in Dubai
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The first passenger flight carrying Israeli tourists to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) landed Sunday in Dubai, a historical moment that looked to herald a new level of economic cooperation in the Middle East.

Sunday's flight comes weeks after the two nations signed a historic peace agreement normalizing relations under guidance from the U.S. It reportedly included a delegation of both Jewish and Arab Israelis, including some who had been to the UAE before and others who were looking for new business opportunities, the Associated Press reported.

“There is no doubt that the normalization between Israel and the UAE will bring good things and benefit to the Arabs inside Israel. There is no doubt about that,” Hussein Suleiman, head of an Arab business delegation and a participant on the flight, told the AP. “We are supportive of this deal and of the normalization, and we are here today to normalize the normalization in reality.”


The flight was organized by FlyDubai, a tourism organization that reportedly plans to begin flights from the UAE to Tel Aviv in the coming weeks.

Leaders of the UAE formally ended their nation's boycott of Israel earlier this year and attended a signing ceremony for the so-called Abraham Accords at the White House in September as part of the historic thawing of relations between the two nations. Telephone service between the two countries was also established.

The move appears to have lead to the UAE's purchase of F-35s from the U.S., as the UAE has long sought access to the aircraft but faced resistance from U.S. officials who discouraged any moves that would threaten Israel's military dominance in the region. Tose fears appear to have been allayed as Israel's government signaled it would not oppose a potential sale.