Prime Minister radios pilot of El Al flight just after it touches down on historic first landing in Gulf Arab nation.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may have been the most excited Israeli Monday as the first-ever El Al flight to overfly Saudi Arabia touched down in the United Arab Emirates, the country that decided to be the third Arab nation to establish diplomatic relations with Israel.
As Israeli and American officials prepared to walk down the stairs to address dignitaries on the tarmac at Abu Dhabi’s airport, Netanyahu spoke with El Al captain Tal Becker, the veteran senior pilot who was called on for the mission.
“I am now watching you with great excitement, the landing of an Israeli plane – in daylight – in Abu Dhabi,” Netanyahu told Becker.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with flight LY971 captain Tal Becker, upon the landing of the Israeli and American delegations in Abu Dhabi
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) August 31, 2020
“This is a historic day. You have no idea how excited the citizens of Israel, myself included, are over this day. We dreamed about it and worked for it and here it is happening before our eyes. Be blessed and do great things,” Netanyahu said.
“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.”
“This is a gigantic and historic blessing,” Netanyahu said. “This is a historic day. I have 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.”
Netanyahu said he sends “greetings also to our American friends who have helped so much on this historic and important occasion.”
A few minutes later, outside the Boeing aircraft, American and Israeli officials heaped praise on the Israel-UAE peace deal.
“For me to fly over here today was a tremendous honor,” said Jared Kushner, President Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law who played a role in brokering the peace arrangement. “I believe that this agreement has the ability to change the whole course of the Middle East.”
Kusher told the dignitaries that he had encountered “a sense of hopelessness” in his first years of dealing with the region. “The last decades we’ve had conflict and war and division, and what happened here was three great leaders came together and they started writing a new script for the Middle East.”
Kushner: ‘We’re All Sons of the Same God’
“The future doesn’t have to be pre-determined by the past. We realized that most people want the same thing. They want the ability to live a better life. They want a better job. They want to live in peace, and we’re all sons of the same God,” Kushner said. “Barriers that exist can be broken if we only have the courage and the optimism and the vision to see them through.”
U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien was also on the historic flight.
“We believe that additional Arab and Muslim countries will soon follow the United Arab Emirates lead and normalize relations with Israel,” O’Brien said. “This trend will put the region on a truly transformative path of stability, of security and of opportunity.”
“This agreement represents the most significant step towards peace in the Middle East in over 25 years. At long last nations are putting aside old ideas and old grievances and embracing a better future …of shared interests and shared goals.”
“Working together the UAE and Israel will be more secure than ever. Together they’ll form a united front with the United States against Iran,” O’Brien noted.
O’Brien called Israel and the UAE “America’s most reliable and most capable partners in the region.”