Jerusalem, Aug 31 (PTI) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to the captain of the first commercial direct flight between Israel and the UAE after it landed in Abu Dhabi on Monday, calling it a 'historic day' for which he had 'worked for very many years' The flight LY971 carried a top level Israeli delegation led by National Security Adviser Meir Ben Shabbat while the US delegation was headed by US President Donald Trump's adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner and US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien.
Describing it as a 'historic day', Netanyahu said that the citizens of Israel, including him, were 'excited' at this development.
'Hello to you. I am now watching you with great excitement, the landing of an Israeli plane – in daylight – in Abu Dhabi. 'Shalom', 'Salaam' and 'Peace' are written on it; this is a start,' Netanyahu said to captain Tal Becker of El Al airline.
'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 of peace that will be shared here with our two peoples, and with all the peoples of the region', the Israeli prime minister said as per a statement released by his media adviser Describing it as 'a gigantic and historic blessing', the Israeli leader told the Captain that he has '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'.
'In effect, you are starting to put this into practice today, the practical translation of this peace. I congratulate you and I say to all those who stand on the other side of the door that is about to open salaam aleikum, wahlan v'sahlan,' he said.
'We dreamed about it and worked for it and here it is happening before our eyes. Be blessed and do great things!' the prime minister said.
He also thanked the US for its help 'on this historic and important occasion'.
Israel and the UAE announced on August 13 that they were establishing full diplomatic relations, in a US-brokered deal that required Israel to suspend its plan to annex parts of the West Bank.
UAE is only the third Arab country to establish diplomatic ties with the Jewish state. Israel's neighbours, Egypt and Jordan, being the other two Arab states to recognise the Jewish state.
The development is being seen as a major breakthrough because the Israeli national carrier, El Al, flew over the Saudi airspace, which is being interpreted by analysts as acceptance of Israel by the Gulf countries in general, and a probable normalisation of ties with some of the other 'friendly countries' in that region.
The flight that took off from the Ben-Gurion airport in Israel landed in Abu Dhabi on Monday afternoon. PTI HM RS AKJ RS