Officials speak of peace, hope after first El Al flight to UAE

Israeli and American officials praise peace deal between Israel and the UAE.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

American and Israeli officials heaped praise on the Israel-UAE peace deal Monday after the first ever flight by an Israeli airline plane landed in the United Arab Emirates carrying a delegation to mark the historic occasion.

“For me to fly over here today was a tremendous honor,” said Jared Kushner, President Trump’s advisor and son-in-law who played a role in brokering the peace arrangement. “I believe that this agreement has the ability to change the whole course of the Middle East.”

Kushner told dignitaries assembled on the tarmac in front of the El Al plane at Abu Dhabi’s airport that he had encountered “a sense of hopelessness” in his first years of dealing with the region. “The last decades we’ve had conflict and war and division, and what happened here was three great leaders came together and they started writing a new script for the Middle East.”

“The future doesn’t have to be pre-determined by the past. We realized that most people want the same thing. They want the ability to live a better life. They want a better job. They want to live in peace, and we’re all sons of the same God,” Kushner said. “Barriers that exist can be broken if we only have the courage and the optimism and the vision to see them through.”

The head of Israel’s National Security Agency, Meir Ben-Shabbat, opened his greetings speaking in fluent Arabic, thanking his hosts and saying “we expect peace to be strengthened by other agreements.”

Those sentiments were shared by U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien.

“We believe that additional Arab and Muslim countries will soon follow the United Arab Emirates lead and normalize relations with Israel,” O’Brien said. “This trend will put the region on a truly transformative path of stability, of security and of opportunity.”

“This agreement represents the most significant step towards peace in the Middle East in over 25 years. At long last nations are putting aside old ideas and old grievances and embracing a better future … of shared interests and shared goals.”

“Working together the UAE and Israel will be more secure than ever. Together they’ll form a united front with the United States against Iran,” O’Brien noted.

O’Brien called Israel and the UAE “America’s most reliable and most capable partners in the region.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu watched the events in the UAE from his office in Jerusalem, but contacted the pilot of the El Al flight after the landing to send his greetings.

“You are now about to open the door to a different kind of peace – peace with investments, peace with tourism, peace with very many fruits that will be shared here with our two peoples, and with all the peoples of the region,” Netanyahu said.

“This is a gigantic and historic blessing. This is a historic day. I have worked on it for very many years in the belief that peace for peace would bring about a great turning point here, and that the Arab peoples are capable of accepting the State of Israel as an existing fact and as a major partner,” the prime minister added.