White House senior adviser Jared Kushner said Palestinians should not be "stuck in the past" as 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
Kushner added on arrival that Washington could maintain Israel's military edge while advancing its ties to the UAE, the Arab world's second largest economy and a regional power.
"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 U.S. delegation that accompanied Israeli officials on the first official Israeli flight from Tel Aviv to the UAE.
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.
Kushner and national security adviser Robert O'Brien head the U.S. delegation. The Israeli team is 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.
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.
"That's what peace for peace looks like," 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.
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 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.
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 to guard the delegations.
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.
*This story was edited by Ahram Online.