Following the historic visit of the United Arab Emirates, the U.S.-Israeli delegation left Abu Dhabi on Tuesday to negotiate potential links between the UAE and the Jewish state following their landmark American-brokered friendship agreement. The deal is expected to be signed by the United Arab Emirates and Israel.
Israel’s first with the Gulf country, and only it’s third with the Arab state in the White House in the coming weeks. Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, and White House strategist, led the delegation that arrived in the capital of Emirati on Monday on the first-ever direct commercial flight from Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv.
The Israeli press praised the historic flight, which has also been permitted to enter Saudi Arabia’s airspace.”The flight of peace” ran the headline of the top-selling daily YediotAharonot, saying in a statement that “no matter how we look at it … it’s a fascinating historical occurrence.”
Apart from that, the UAE-Israel agreement again drew criticism after a major Arab player criticized it as a stab in the back by the Palestinians, although they still lack their own state. Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Twitter alleged that “the UAE has misled the world of Islam, the Arab nations, the countries of the region and Palestine.”
Kushner also visited a UAE air base Tuesday where the US operates F-35 stealth fighter jets coveted by Abu Dhabi — the most thorny question in the newly formed relations between the Emirates and Israel. Israel has denied claims that the agreement relies on the selling of U.S. F-35s to the UAE, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying he is opposed to a move that might weaken its regional strategic edge.
Kushner said the US could retain the edge on Monday “as well as advancing our military relationship with the United Arab Emirates” and that the topic would be further addressed in the coming weeks. Officials from the US, Israel, and the UAE said they had addressed trade, economy, health, space exploration, civil aviation, foreign policy, and tourism and culture cooperation.
“The outcome will be a large partnership between two of the most advanced and competitive economies in the region,” the trio said in a statement. The National Security Advisors, Meir Ben-Shabbat of Israel and Sheik Tahnoun bin Zayed of the UAE, joined Kushner for talks on collaboration between the two highly developed economies in the Middle East.