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An El Al 737. Photo: Fabrizio Gandolfo/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Israel’s airport authority on Friday listed the departure of a commercial Israeli airliner to the United Arab Emirates on its planned schedule for the first time.

Why it matters: The milestone flight is another sign of progress in the U.S.-brokered normalization deal between the two countries that was announced two weeks ago.

  • El Al Flight 971 — the international calling code for the UAE — operated by a Boeing 737 will depart Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport at 10 a.m. Israel time on Monday, flying directly to Abu Dhabi through Saudi airspace.

The plane will include several delegations:

  • A U.S. team led by President Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner will also include national security adviser Robert O’Brien, White House envoy Avi Berkowitz and U.S. envoy for Iran Brian Hook.
  • An Israeli team led by national security adviser Meir Ben Shabbat will also include the director-generals of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office, the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Health.
  • A group of Israeli and American reporters are also expected to be on the plane to cover the flight as well as talks between the U.S. and Israeli teams with Emirati officials.

What’s next: The Israeli delegation is expected to have technical talks with the Emirati government on Monday and Tuesday regarding a set of bilateral agreements for the opening of embassies, direct flights and visas.

  • Those talks will also set the stage for an official signing ceremony at the White House in several weeks.

Go deeper

Dec 4, 2020 - World

Saudi Arabia and Qatar near deal to end standoff, sources say

Qatar's prime minister (R) attends the 2019 Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Saudi Arabia. Photo: Fayez Nureldine/AFP via Getty

Saudi Arabia and Qatar are close to a deal to end the diplomatic crisis in the Gulf following U.S.-mediated reconciliation talks this week, sources familiar with the talks tell me.

Why it matters: Restoring relations between Saudi Arabia and Qatar would bring a sense of stability back to the Gulf after a 3.5 year standoff. It could also notch a last-minute achievement for the Trump administration before Jan. 20.

Updated 15 mins ago - World

Mexican President López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.