Published 3:44 p.m. ET Nov. 8, 2020
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – The first flight carrying Israeli tourists to the United Arab Emirates landed on Sunday in the city of Dubai, the latest sign of the deal Normalization is achieved between the two countries.
FlyDubai flight FZ8194 landed at Dubai International Airport shortly after 5:40 pm, bringing tourists to the city with skyscrapers after a journey lasting nearly three hours. The low-cost airline sent one of its Boeing 737s to Ben-Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv the previous Sunday morning to pick up passengers.
The flight flew over Saudi Arabia and then across the waters of the Persian Gulf to the UAE, a federation of seven kingdoms also home to Abu Dhabi.
The flight, made by an Israeli company called Gaya Tours, brought Jewish Israelis and some Arab Israelis on board. Many Jewish Israelis wear kippah headscarves.
Many on the flight said it was not their first time in the UAE, but all said they were excited to be in Dubai. The tourists were joined by a number of businessmen looking forward to a chance at Emirates.
“Without a doubt, normalization between Israel and the UAE will do good and beneficial things for the Arabs inside Israel. There is no doubt about that, ”said Hussein Suleiman, chief of the delegation of Arab businessmen on the flight. “We support this agreement and normalization process, and we are here today to normalize normalization in practice.”
The arrival of tourists especially as Dubai is trying to revive its vital tourism industry amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The UAE and Israel have agreed to launch regular commercial flights between their countries soon, while other flights have recently carried business and government delegations.
FlyDubai plans to initiate flights to Tel Aviv later this month. The airline describes Sunday’s flight as a “commercial charter flight” for travelers arriving without detailed explanation.
It comes as Israel and the UAE, which have maintained secret links for many years, have opened up their diplomatic relations. The country signed a normalization agreement with Israel along with Bahrain at a White House ceremony in September, making them the third and fourth Arab country to currently have peace with Israel.
But while Egypt and Jordan signed previous peace agreements, the UAE said it anticipates a “warm” peace with Israel. Emirates also hopes the deal will support efforts to purchase advanced F-35 fighter jets from the US. The deal also unites three countries that are still suspicious of Iran.
However, the agreements failed to resolve the decades-long conflict between Israel and Palestine, who saw the treaties as a backstab from their Arab compatriots and betrayed their cause. them to a Palestinian state. The deals, seen as a foreign policy victory by President Donald Trump ahead of the November 3 election, now face the impending administration of newly-elected President Joe Biden.
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