Abu Dhabi - Senior U.S. and Israeli officials landed in the United Arab Emirates on Monday on a historic trip to finalise a pact marking open relations between Israel and the Gulf state, and they told Palestinians it was now time for them to negotiate peace.
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner also said on arrival that Washington could help advancing its ties to the UAE, the Arab world's second largest economy and a regional power.
Announced on Aug. 13, the normalisation deal is the first such accommodation between an Arab country and Israel in more than 20 years.
Kushner said Palestinians should not be "stuck in the past".
Jared Kouchner, Robert O'Brien and Meir Ben Shabat held a press conference at the airport upon their arrival.
Kouchner said, "We are now celebrating a historical moment with the arrival of the first commercial flight from the State of Israel to the UAE," noting that the historic achievement and the announcement of the peace treaty between the UAE and the State of Israel was achieved thanks to the vision and courage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
He added, "Peace is a necessary and urgent matter for the peoples of the region who aspire to a secure and prosperous future, and we hope that its path will expand in the region and the world."
"Palestinians have to come to the table. Peace will be ready for them, an opportunity will be ready for them as soon as they are ready to embrace it," said Kushner, part of a U.S. delegation that accompanied Israeli officials on the first official Israeli flight from Tel Aviv to the UAE.
Kushner and national security adviser Robert O'Brien headed the U.S. delegation. The Israeli team was led by O'Brien's counterpart, Meir Ben-Shabbat.
For his part, Meir bin Shabat, advisor and head of the Israeli National Security Council, said that His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, took a courageous step with the announcement of the peace treaty between the UAE and the State of Israel ... expressing his pride in his presence in This historic moment that witnesses the arrival of the first commercial flight from the State of Israel to the UAE.
He added, "We thank our partners in the United Arab Emirates and the United States of America for their efforts that led to this historic agreement, which will result in strengthening joint cooperation between the two countries in many areas for the benefit of the peoples of the two countries." He stressed that peace is important for the benefit of the peoples of the region.
The delegation was received upon its arrival at the presidential airport in Abu Dhabi by UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash and a number of officials.
Israel and the United Arab Emirates will discuss economic, scientific, trade and cultural cooperation on the visit. Direct flights between the two countries will also be on the agenda, an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman told al Arabiya television after landing in Abu Dhabi.
"That's what peace for peace looks like," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted, describing a deal for formal ties with an Arab state.
At a news conference in Jerusalem late on Monday, Netanyahu said: "It will be a warm peace because it will be based on cooperation in the realm of economics, with an entrepreneurial economy like ours, with vast economic capabilities, with big money looking for investment channels."
That could give U.S. President Donald Trump a foreign policy boost ahead of his re-election bid in November.
On board the packed airliner, passengers were welcomed in Arabic as well as English and Hebrew, a gesture marking the historic flight.
"Wishing us all salaam, peace and shalom, have a safe flight," the pilot, Captain Tal Becker, said on the intercom, in Arabic, English and Hebrew, using all three languages to also announce the flight number and destination.
Like all El Al 737s, the aircraft was equipped with an anti-missile system, an Israeli spokesman said, and carried security agents of the U.S. Secret Service and the Israeli Shin Bet.