First direct Israel-UAE flight lands in Abu Dhabi amid deal

Israel and UAE agreed this month to work towards normalization

Abu Dhabi: A Star of David-adorned El Al plane has landed in Abu Dhabi after flying in from Israel, carrying a high-ranking American and Israeli delegation in the first-ever direct commercial passenger flight to the United Arab Emirates.

The Israeli flag carrier’s flight Monday marks the implementation of the historic U.S.-brokered deal to normalize relations between the two nations and solidifies long-clandestine ties that have evolved over years of shared enmity toward Iran.

With the U.S. as a matchmaker, Israel and the UAE agreed earlier this month to work toward normalization, which would make the UAE the third Arab nation to have full relations with Israel, after Egypt and Jordan.

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Monday’s three hours, 20-minute flight saw the El Al plane fly through Saudi airspace and over the kingdom’s capital, Riyadh.

That signals the possibility the kingdom could regularly allow these flights, which would make them viable commercially. Otherwise, flights would need to take seven hours to detour, burning more jet fuel.

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