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September 1, 2020 9:41 am

Palestinian Prime Minister: Israeli Visit to UAE ‘Painful to See’

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Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas (L) , with PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh sitting next to him, delivers a speech, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Jan. 28, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Raneen Sawafta / File. – Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh criticized Monday’s historic direct flight between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, saying it was “painful.”

Speaking at the start of the weekly Palestinian Cabinet meeting in Ramallah on Monday, Shtayyeh stressed that the landing of an Israeli plane in Abu Dhabi violates the Arab consensus on refusing to normalize relations with Israel before resolving the conflict with the Palestinians, Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

“It is very painful to see today the landing of an Israeli plane in the United Arab Emirates in a clear violation of the Arab stance on the Arab-Israeli conflict,” said Shtayyeh.

“We would have very much liked to see a UAE flight land in Jerusalem after it is liberated,” he added.

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Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erakat tweeted on Monday: “Peace is not an empty word used to normalize crimes and oppression. Peace is the outcome of justice. 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.’”

El Al Flight 971 from Tel Aviv touched down in Abu Dhabi on Monday after a three-hour flight, having been granted permission to traverse Saudi Arabia’s airspace, usually off-limits to Israeli air traffic. The flight carried a top-level delegation from Israel and the United States, led by Jared Kushner, presidential son-in-law and senior adviser to US President Donald Trump, US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien and head of the Israeli National Security Council Meir Ben-Shabbat.

The goal of the trip is to hammer out the details of the normalization agreement between the two countries that was announced by the White House on Aug. 13.

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