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U.S.-Israeli delegation flies to United Arab Emirates as key step in historic normalization deal

National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien is also part of of the delegation to the Gulf nation.

Updated: August 31, 2020 - 11:33am

A delegation of Israeli and U.S officials including senior presidential adviser Jared Kushner flew Monday from Israel to the United Arab Emirates in the first direct flight by an Israeli airline to the Gulf nation, a key next step in the two countries' recent agreement to normalize relations.

The delegation flew from Israel's Ben-Gurion Airport to the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi for a meeting with Emirati officials, following their Aug. 13 agreement. The U.S.-brokered deal is being touted as a major foreign policy win for President Trump, with the presidential election just over two months away. 

The deal is also being considered a victory for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who, if the agreements are signed, will be the first Israeli leader to officially normalize relations with a Gulf state, according to ABC News.

National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien was also part of the delegation with Kushner, Trump's son-in-law. The Israeli delegation was led by National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat.

"I prayed yesterday at the Wall that Muslims and Arabs from throughout the world will be watching this flight recognizing that we're all children of God and that the future does not have to be predetermined by the past," Kushner said before boarding the El Al flight, in an apparent reference to the Western Wall, the holiest prayer site in Judaism.


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