Israel and UAE set for historic direct flight following peace deal

Israeli El Al plane which will fly to Abu Dhabi (31/08/20)

image copyrightEPA

image captionThe El Al plane was marked with the word for peace in Arabic, English and Hebrew

The first commercial flight from Israel to the UAE is to take place, marking a major step in normalising relations after the announcement of a peace deal.

An Israeli El Al airliner will make the three-hour trip, carrying a delegation of Israeli and US officials.

The flight is expected to be allowed to cross Saudi airspace, normally blocked to Israeli air traffic.

The UAE became only the third Arab country in the Middle East to recognise Israel since its founding in 1948.

On Saturday the UAE repealed a law boycotting Israel which had been in place since 1972, and earlier this month the two countries opened direct telephone services for the first time.

The agreement to normalise relations – brokered by the US – was made public in a surprise announcement on 13 August.

While it was welcomed by much of the international community, the UAE’s recognition of Israel without the precondition of the creation of a Palestinian state was denounced by the Palestinians as a betrayal of their cause.

In return for official relations with the UAE, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to suspend controversial plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank – land claimed by the Palestinians for a future state of their own.

Related Topics

  • United Arab Emirates

  • Israel
  • Air travel

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