A report has disclosed that a Boeing 737 narrow-body airliner operated by a logistics and consignment company based in the United Arab Emirates landed at Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport three times last week, as Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi move closer to normalization of diplomatic relations.
According to the report published by the Israeli English-language Haaretz daily newspaper on Thursday, the jet “belongs to DP World – a logistics and shipping company in Dubai that operates warehouses and ports around the world.”
The DP World private jet landed at the airport on Sunday, parked on the tarmac for a few hours and then took off.
The aircraft had, in fact, landed at the main international airport of the occupied territories three times in the last week alone.
The same plane also landed at Ben Gurion International Airport two months ago, and so did last year.
The developments came as a relative of a senior political figure in the UAE, whose identity was not immediately available, is apparently receiving medical treatment in Israel, Haaretz said, adding, however that “there may be another reason for the visits.”
In September 2018, the chief executive officer (CEO) of DP World, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, visited Israel to advance his business ties, according to the English-language The Times of Israel online newspaper.
Israel’s trade with Persian Gulf states is estimated to stand at around $1 billion annually, according to a study published by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change in August 2018.
Jamal al-Suwaidi, founder of the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research, told the British newspaper The Guardian in an interview in March that the Palestinian issue is no longer at the top of the agenda among the Arab Persian Gulf states.
“The Palestinian cause is no longer at the forefront of Arabs’ interests, as it used to be for long decades,” he said. “It has sharply lost priority in light of the challenges, threats and problems that face countries of the region.”
The Israeli foreign minister, Israel Katz, told a ministerial meeting in Jerusalem al-Quds on August 6 that he was working toward “transparent normalization and signed agreements” with a number of Arab Persian Gulf littoral states.
Katz visited the Emirati capital city of Abu Dhabi on June 30 for a UN environmental conference, where he discussed cooperation against Iran, as well as economic and transport collaboration, Israeli i24NEWS television news network reported.
On October 26 last year, Israeli culture and sports minister Miri Regev had also traveled to the UAE to accompany Israel’s judo team at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam 2018.
Her visit to the UAE marked the first of its kind by an Israeli minister to a Persian Gulf littoral state.
The president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) said last December that the then chief of staff of the Israeli military, Gadi Eisenkot, had secretly traveled twice to the UAE a month earlier, and had met with senior officials there.
Mort Fridman further noted that an agreement on the sale of Israeli military hardware to the UAE was struck during the meeting.
Earlier this year, Israel re-launched a “virtual embassy” in a bid to “promote dialogue” with the Persian Gulf Arab states.
Arab countries — except for Jordan and Egypt — have no formal relations with the Israeli regime.