'Mic drop' for Kushner during his UAE arrival

Senior US and Israeli officials landed in the United Arab Emirates on a historic trip to finalise a pact marking open relations between Israel and the Gulf state, but things didn't exactly go to plan as Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner saw his microphone falls not once but twice upon his arrival at Abu Dhabi airport.

Kushner said that now is the time for Palestinians to negotiate peace. He added that Washington could help maintain Israel's military edge while 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 and was forged largely through shared fears of Iran.

Palestinians were dismayed by the UAE's move, seeing it as a betrayal that would weaken a long-standing pan-Arab position which calls for Israeli withdrawal from occupied territory and acceptance of Palestinian statehood in return for normal relations with Arab countries.

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Historic trip from Israel to UAE
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Historic trip from Israel to UAE
The captain of the El Al airliner which will carry US and Israeli delegations to the United Arab Emirates waves to spectators as the plane prepares to take off on the first-ever commercial flight from Israel to the UAE, at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. (Menahem Kahana/Pool via AP)
A combination picture shows a man in Israel (L) and another in the United Arab Emirates, both wearing protective face masks bearing the American, Israeli and Emirati flags, as Israeli and American delegations arrived in Abu Dhabi to finalise a normalisation deal between the countries on August 31, 2020. - A US-Israeli delegation including White House advisor Jared Kushner took off on a historic first direct commercial flight from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi to mark the normalisation of ties between the Jewish state and the UAE. (Photo by NIR ELIAS / AFP) (Photo by NIR ELIAS/AFP via Getty Images)
TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - AUGUST 31: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY â MANDATORY CREDIT - "ISRAEL AIRPORT / SIVAN FARAG / HANDOUT" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) An Israeli delegation led by National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat, and U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien (L) and U.S. President Trump's senior adviser Jared Kushner (R) board the Israeli flag carrier El Al's airliner as they fly to Abu Dhabi for talks meant to put final touches on the normalisation deal between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel on August 31, 2020. (Photo by Israel Airports / Sivan Farag/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - AUGUST : (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY â MANDATORY CREDIT - "ISRAEL AIRPORT / SIVAN FARAG / HANDOUT" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) An Israeli delegation led by National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat, and U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien and U.S. President Trump's senior adviser Jared Kushner board the Israeli flag carrier El Al's airliner as they fly to Abu Dhabi for talks meant to put final touches on the normalisation deal between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel on August 31, 2020. (Photo by Israel Airports / Sivan Farag/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - AUGUST : (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY â MANDATORY CREDIT - "ISRAEL AIRPORT / SIVAN FARAG / HANDOUT" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) An Israeli delegation led by National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat, and U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien and U.S. President Trump's senior adviser Jared Kushner (L) board the Israeli flag carrier El Al's airliner as they fly to Abu Dhabi for talks meant to put final touches on the normalisation deal between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel on August 31, 2020. (Photo by Israel Airports / Sivan Farag/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu makes joint statements to the press with US Presidential Adviser Jared Kushner (unseen) after their meeting in Jerusalem, on August 30, 2020, about the Israel - United Arab Emirates agreement to normalise relations. (Photo by DEBBIE HILL / various sources / AFP) (Photo by DEBBIE HILL/AFP via Getty Images)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and US Presidential Adviser Jared Kushner make joint statements to the press after their meeting in Jerusalem, on August 30, 2020, about the Israel - United Arab Emirates agreement to normalise relations. (Photo by DEBBIE HILL / various sources / AFP) (Photo by DEBBIE HILL/AFP via Getty Images)
Members of the US-Israeli delegation and reporters prepare to disembark from the El Al airliner upon their arrival at the Abu Dhabi airport in the United Arab Emirates on August 31, 2020. (Photo by NIR ELIAS / POOL / AFP) (Photo by NIR ELIAS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Israeli National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat, left, U.S. President Donald Trump's senior adviser Jared Kushner, center, and U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien, right, board the Israeli flag carrier El Al's airliner as they fly to Abu Dhabi for talks meant to put final touches on the normalization deal between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, at Ben-Gurion International Airport, near Tel Aviv, Israel Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. (Nir Elias/Pool Photo via AP)
U.S. President Donald Trump's senior adviser Jared Kushner, center, speaks with passengers during a flight on an Israeli El Al plane bound for Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. The plane carrying a delegation of Israeli and American officials landed in Abu Dhabi after flying in from Israel in the first-ever direct commercial passenger flight to the UAE. The Israeli flag carrier’s flight Monday marks the implementation of the historic U.S.-brokered deal to normalize relations between the two nations. (Nir Elias/Pool Photo via AP)
A flight attendant hands out chocolates with a greeting card to passengers on an El Al plane from Israel en route to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. The El Al plane carrying a high-ranking American and Israeli delegation to Abu Dhabi completed the first-ever direct commercial passenger flight to the UAE. The Israeli flag carrier’s flight Monday marks the implementation of the historic U.S.-brokered deal to normalize relations between the Israel and the UAE. (Nir Elias/Pool Photo via AP)
An official message welcomes passengers on an Israeli El Al plane carrying an Israeli-American delegation and journalists on a flight to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. The El Al plane completed the first-ever direct commercial passenger flight to the UAE. The Israeli flag carrier’s flight Monday marks the implementation of the historic U.S.-brokered deal to normalize relations between the Israel and the UAE. (Nir Elias/Pool Photo via AP)
An official stands at the door of an Israeli El Al airliner after it landed in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. The Star of David-adorned El Al plane landed in Abu Dhabi after flying in from Israel, carrying a high-ranking American and Israeli delegation to Abu Dhabi in the first-ever direct commercial passenger flight to the United Arab Emirates. The Israeli flag carrier’s flight Monday marks the implementation of the historic U.S.-brokered deal to normalize relations between the two nations. (Nir Elias/Pool Photo via AP)
Israeli flag carrier El Al's airliner which is carrying Israeli and U.S. delegations to Abu Dhabi for talks meant to put final touches on the normalization deal between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, takes off at Ben Gurion Airport, near Tel Aviv, Israel Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
A screen displaying flight number of Israeli flag carrier El Al's airliner which will carry Israeli and U.S. delegations to Abu Dhabi for talks meant to put final touches on the normalization deal between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, at Ben-Gurion Airport, near Tel Aviv, Israel Monday, Aug. 31, 2020.(AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
A seat covering reading in Arabic, English and Hebrew "making history" is in the Israeli flag carrier El Al's airliner which will carry Israeli and U.S. delegations to Abu Dhabi for talks meant to put final touches on the normalization deal between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, at Ben Grunion International Airport, near Tel Aviv, Israel Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. (Nir Elias/Pool Photo via AP)
Screens display flight number of Israeli flag carrier El Al's airliner which will carry Israeli and U.S. delegations to Abu Dhabi for talks meant to put final touches on the normalization deal between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, at Ben Gurion Airport, near Tel Aviv, Israel Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. (Nir Elias/Pool Photo via AP)
A screen displaying flight number of Israeli flag carrier El Al's airliner which will carry Israeli and U.S. delegations to Abu Dhabi for talks meant to put final touches on the normalization deal between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, at Ben Gurion Airport, near Tel Aviv, Israel Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. (Nir Elias/Pool Photo via AP)
The Arabic, English and Hebrew word for "peace" is seen on the Israeli flag carrier El Al's airliner which will carry Israeli and U.S. delegations to Abu Dhabi for talks meant to put final touches on the normalization deal between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, at Ben Gurion Airport, near Tel Aviv, Israel Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. (Nir Elias/Pool Photo via AP)
People including flight crew members are seen in the Israeli flag carrier El Al's airliner which will carry Israeli and U.S. delegations to Abu Dhabi for talks meant to put final touches on the normalization deal between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, at Ben Gurion International Airport, near Tel Aviv, Israel Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. (Nir Elias/Pool Photo via AP)
Israeli National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat, left, U.S. President Donald Trump's senior adviser Jared Kushner, center, and U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien, right, board the Israeli flag carrier El Al's airliner as they fly to Abu Dhabi for talks meant to put final touches on the normalization deal between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, at Ben-Gurion International Airport, near Tel Aviv, Israel Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. (Nir Elias/Pool Photo via AP)
Israeli flag carrier El Al's airliner which is carrying Israeli and U.S. delegations to Abu Dhabi for talks meant to put final touches on the normalization deal between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, takes off at Ben Gurion Airport, near Tel Aviv, Israel Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
U.S. President Donald Trump's senior adviser Jared Kushner, center, stands with U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien while speaking to journalists during a flight on an Israeli El Al plane to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. The plane landed in Abu Dhabi after flying in from Israel in the first-ever direct commercial passenger flight to the United Arab Emirates. (Nir Elias/Pool Photo via AP)
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Kushner said Palestinians should not be "stuck in the past".

"They 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 US 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 US delegation. The Israeli team was led by O'Brien's counterpart, Meir Ben-Shabbat.

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 that does not entail handover of land that Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

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."

ARABIC GREETING

Even before landing, the delegates made aviation history when the Israeli commercial airliner flew over Saudi territory on the direct flight from Tel Aviv to the UAE capital.

Israeli officials hope the two-day trip will produce a date for a signing ceremony in Washington, perhaps as early as September, between Netanyahu and Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

That could give US President Donald Trump a foreign policy boost ahead of his re-election bid in November.

The Trump administration has tried to coax other Sunni Arab countries concerned about Iran to engage with Israel. The most powerful of those, Saudi Arabia, while opening its airspace to the El Al flight, has signalled it is not ready.

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 US Secret Service and the Israeli Shin Bet.

Palestinian leaders expressed anger at a deal which they believe further erodes their struggle for an independent state.

"Peace is not an empty word used to normalise crimes and oppression. Peace is the outcome of justice," politician Saeb Erekat said in a Tweet.

"Peace is not made by denying Palestine's right to exist and imposing an apartheid regime. Apartheid is what Netanyahu means by "peace for peace."

The Islamist Hamas group, which controls the Palestinian enclave of Gaza, also condemned the UAE.

The flight represents a "stab in the back of the Palestinian people, a prolonging of the occupation, and a betrayal of the resistance of the (Palestinian) people," Hamas said in a statement.

Hours before the plane landed, in apparently unrelated incidents that authorities attributed to gas malfunctions, three people were killed and several others were injured in two separate explosions in Abu Dhabi and UAE tourism hub Dubai, police and local media said.

The Abu Dhabi government media office said two people were killed in the blast in the capital, which the National daily reported hit KFC and Hardee's restaurants, located on a main road leading to the airport.

In the second incident, one person was killed when a gas cylinder exploded in a Dubai restaurant, local media reported.

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