Photo Credit: (courtesy)
National Security Advisor and head of the National Security Council Meir Ben-Shabbat and Senior US Presidential Advisor Jared Kushner are meeting with United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Monday was a momentous, truly amazing day in the history of the People of Israel, not only in the State of Israel but for the Jewish People in the Middle East.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Flight LY971 Captain Tal Becker when the first-ever commercial flight from Israel to the United Arab Emirates landed and the Israeli and American passengers within — delegations flying for talks — were ready to disembark in Abu Dhabi.

“Hello to you,” Netanyahu said. “I am now watching you with great excitement, the landing of an Israeli plane – in daylight – in Abu Dhabi. ‘Shalom’, ‘Salaam’ and ‘Peace’ are written on it; this is a start. 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 declared. “I congratulate you and I say to all those who stand on the other side of the door that is about to open, ‘salaam aleikum, wahlan v’sahlan.

“This is a gigantic and historic blessing. This is a historic day. I congratulate you and I say to all those who stand on the other side of the door that is about to open, salaam aleikum, wahlan v’sahlan. 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!

Greetings also to our American friends who have helped so much on this historic and important occasion.”

Israel’s National Security Adviser and head of the National Security Council, Meir Ben-Shabbat told reporters upon landing in Abu Dhabi, “On behalf of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, I would like to thank US President Donald Trump and his envoy Jared Kushner and his team, and my dear colleague, US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, for the vision, the understanding and the efforts that they invested so that we might reach this moment.

“A quarter-century has passed since the last peace agreement was signed between an Arab state and Israel. In the many years that have passed, hands did not slacken and the yearning for this did not weaken.

“I would like to express to my hosts and especially to his Highness UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed our appreciation for his brave step. Israel and the UAE have much in common. Our region is replete with challenges and threats but we have the courage and the ability to meet them. This is thanks to the human spirit that pulses within us, the visionary foresight, the imagination to think big, the ability to innovate, the desire to succeed, the readiness to change and the belief that it is within our power to change reality. We gaze toward a new horizon in the region, a horizon of cooperation between advanced companies, a horizon of technology, of innovation, of prosperity, of growth and of hope.

“Not in vain do we call this agreement and those that will come in its wake, the ‘Abraham Accords’. Abraham, our first patriarch, had an innovative vision. He came out against the beliefs that were current in, and before, his time. He founded the faith in one God – the God who promised that he would be a source of blessing for us all: ‘and in you shall all the families of the earth be blessed’. By coming to establish relations between Israel and the UAE, we draw inspiration from our common Patriarch and forge a new path: A brave path, of hope, partnership, brotherhood, prosperity and peace.”

The Israeli delegation to Abu Dhabi was received by United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, in a festive welcoming ceremony held at Abu Dhabi International Airport.

Following are Meir Ben Shabbat’s remarks (translated from Arabic), together with joint statements from senior US Presidential Advisor Jared Kushner and US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien:

“Peace unto you and may the mercies of God and His blessings be upon you. I am very proud and happy to be here at the head of the Israeli delegation. We have come here in order to transform a vision into reality.

“There is no limit to the cooperation that we will be able to establish between us – in science, in innovation, in health, in aviation, in agriculture, in energy and on many other topics. We call upon additional countries to participate with us in the peace process for the peoples of the entire region. I thank our Emirati hosts and our American partners for their leadership.”

Trilateral working groups in Abu Dhabi, August 31 2020

Trilateral Working Groups in Abu Dhabi
Ben-Shabbat held an advance briefing for the Israeli delegation ahead of the discussions in the trilateral working groups, which began on Monday.

Prime Minister’s Office Director General Ronen Peretz is coordinating the economic issues and the director generals and representatives of the various government ministries are currently conducting the Israeli delegation’s discussions on a wide range of topics.

The discussions are being held in working groups that include Israeli, Emirati and American representatives on the following issues: Diplomacy; finances; aviation and entry visas; health; culture and tourism; space, science and investments; innovation and trade.

The goal of the working groups is to create personal and professional links between the professional elements on both sides and to start the work processes, officials said.

At the conclusion of the discussions by the working groups, the professional elements from all groups will convene for a concluding discussion and to present the work products to the final plenary.

Want to see history in action? Here’s a list of the working groups and the issues they are working on:

1. Diplomacy

* Advancing the establishment of full diplomatic relations
* Opening representations and determining an agreed-upon date
* Determining frequent bilateral dialogues between the countries on diplomatic and regional issues, and according to working groups
* A media plan directed at public opinion in both countries

2. Finances

* Establishing a tax treaty and determining taxation rules
* Cooperation regarding the prohibition on money-laundering
* A memorandum of intent to cooperate and hold dialogue on issues regarding financial services
* Establishing an investment protection agreement
* Beginning a feasibility study on establishing a financial protocol between the two countries

3. Aviation and visas

* Establishing an aviation agreement and agreeing on the opening of direct air routes
* Establishing reciprocity regarding visas for visitors

4. Investments, innovation and trade

* Establishing an economic-commercial framework agreement between the countries
* Investments in specific sectors including (inter alia) energy and hotels
* Cooperation in research and development and establishing a joint innovation fund

5. Health

* Strategic cooperation regarding the coronavirus
* A cooperation agreement between health agencies regarding emergency preparedness

6. Culture and tourism

* Regional tourism packages in cooperation with Jordan and Egypt
* Joint marketing of a tourism package including Israel and the UAE for tourists from third countries
* Establishing an agreement to encourage joint television and cinema productions
* A cooperation agreement on cultural events
* Interfaith dialogue

7. Space and science

* A cooperation agreement on civilian use of space
* Agreement on a framework for scientific and technological cooperation in a range of areas

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.