Israel-UAE flight may start ‘historic’ Mideast journey, says Kushner

Jared Kushner (centre) is leading a joint US-Israeli delegation to normalise ties on the Israel-UAE commercial flight. (AP pic)

TEL AVIV: White House advisor Jared Kushner, boarding the first Israel-UAE commercial flight following a US-brokered deal to normalise ties, voiced hope Monday for a more peaceful era in the region.

Flight 971 of Israel’s national carrier El Al then took off from Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv, bound for Abu Dhabi.

The historic flight was carrying a joint US-Israeli delegation that was led on the American side by Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law.

“While this is a historic flight, we hope that it will start an even more historic journey in the Middle East and beyond,” Kushner said shortly before boarding.

“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 around the world.”

The Israel-UAE agreement to normalise ties was announced by Trump on Aug 13, making the UAE the first Gulf country and only the third Arab nation to establish relations with Israel, after Egypt and Jordan.

The word “peace” was painted on the plane’s cockpit in Arabic, English and Hebrew.