ABU DHABI (Dispatches) -- Senior U.S. and Zionist officials landed in the United Arab Emirates on Monday on a controversial trip to finalize a pact marking open relations between the occupying regime of Israel and the Persian Gulf state, and they warned Palestinians it was now time for them to negotiate "peace”.
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner said on arrival that Washington could maintain the Zionist regime’s military edge while advancing its ties to the UAE.
The euphoria, however, gave way to nightmare as two blasts at restaurants in Abu Dhabi and Dubai killed three people earlier in the day in what authorities claimed were the result of gas malfunctions. The Abu Dhabi government told residents "to avoid spreading rumors” about the blasts, and "use official news sources”.
Announced on Aug. 13, the normalization deal is the first between an Arab country and the occupying regime of Israel in more than 20 years.
Palestinians see the UAE’s move as a betrayal that would weaken a long-standing position calling for Israeli withdrawal from their occupied territories and acceptance of Palestinian statehood.
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 U.S. delegation that accompanied Zionist officials on the first official Israeli flight from Tel Aviv to the UAE.
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.
They said the occupying regime of Israel and the United Arab Emirates would discuss economic, scientific, trade and cultural cooperation on the visit. Direct flights between the tiny emirates and Occupied Palestine 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 anachronism 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 triumphantly boasted, describing a deal for formal ties with an Arab state that does not entail giving back any land that the occupying regime seized in the 1967 Middle East war.
Zionist 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 Muhammad bin Zayed al-Nahyan.
They hope that could give U.S. President Donald Trump a foreign policy boost ahead of his troubled re-election bid in November.
The Trump administration has tried to coax other Arab countries to engage with the occupying regime of Israel. The most powerful of those, Saudi Arabia, while opening its airspace to the El Al flight, has reportedly signaled it is not ready yet.
The Middle East Eye news portal revealed last week that Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman had pulled out of a planned visit to Washington to meet Netanyahu after he received reports that news of his trip had been leaked.
Like all El Al 737s, the aircraft carrying the delegation Monday 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.
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 normalize crimes and oppression. Peace is the outcome of justice,” politician Saeb Erekat said in a Tweet in response to the sugarcoated overtures.
"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 Hamas movement, which administers the Palestinian enclave of Gaza, also condemned the UAE.
The flight represented 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, 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 American KFC and Hardee’s restaurants, which are located on a main road leading to the airport.
In a second incident, one person was killed when an alleged gas cylinder exploded in a Dubai restaurant, local media reported.