Israel and UAE in historic direct flight following peace deal

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

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

The flight is being allowed to cross Saudi Arabian airspace, normally blocked to Israeli air traffic.

The UAE became only the third Arab country in the Middle East to recognize 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On Saturday the UAE repealed a law boycotting Israel which had been in place since 1972, and earlier this month the two countries opened direct telephone services for the first time.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 normalize relations – brokered by the US – was made public in a surprise announcement on 13 August.

Flight LY971 – numbered to represent the UAE’s international dialing code – is carrying delegates including Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner and Israel’s National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat.

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