First commercial flight with Israeli tourists lands in UAE
FlyDubai flight No. FZ8194 landed at Dubai International Airport just after 5:40pm, bringing the tourists to the skyscraper-studded city after a nearly three-hour trip.
The low-cost carrier had sent one of its Boeing 737s to Ben-Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv earlier on Sunday morning to pick up the passengers.
The flight flew across Saudi Arabia and then over the waters of the Persian Gulf to reach the UAE, a federation of seven sheikhdoms also home to the capital Abu Dhabi.
The flight, put together by an Israeli company called Gaya Tours, saw Jewish Israelis and a number of Palestinian Israelis on board.
Many of the Jewish Israelis wore kippah head coverings and some on the flight said it was not their first time to the UAE.
The tourists were joined by a number of business people eager for opportunities in the Emirates.
"There is no doubt that the normalization between Israel and the UAE will bring good things and benefit to the Arabs inside Israel. There is no doubt about that," said Hussein Suleiman, the head of an Palestinian Israeli business delegation on board the flight.
The arrival of tourists comes as Dubai in particular tries to revive its vital tourism industry amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
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The UAE is only the third Arab country to normalise ties with Israel following Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.
However, its move was quickly followed by Bahrain and Sudan.
The agreements, which have been roundly condemned by the Palestinians, break with years of Arab League policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The consensus had been that there should be no relations with Israel until it makes peace with the Palestinians.
Regional heavyweight Saudi Arabia has so far refrained from formalising relations with Israel, but has greenlighted UAE and Bahrain overflights, marking a sign of cooperation with Israel.