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In what can be considered yet another step toward rapprochement and warming ties between the two countries, Israel on Tuesday congratulated the United Arab Emirates on its planned mission to Mars next month.

According to NASA, the Emirates Mars Mission is scheduled to launch on July 14. The mission’s objective is to orbit the planet with an unmanned probe, called “Hope,” and study its atmosphere over the course of one martian year.

“We wish the UAE the best of luck on the launch of this scientific mission, and hope this step will contribute towards deeper cooperation between all countries in the region,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry posted in Arabic to its “Israel in the Gulf” Twitter account.

Built by the UAE, the probe “will orbit Mars and study the dynamics of the martian atmosphere and its interaction with outer space and the solar wind. The primary scientific objectives are to search for the connection between current martian weather and the ancient climate of Mars, study the loss mechanisms of Mars’ atmosphere to space by tracking the behavior and escape of hydrogen and oxygen, investigate how the lower and upper levels of the martian atmosphere are connected, and create a global picture of how the martian atmosphere varies throughout the day and year.”

With the launch, the UAE will become the first Arab country to send a mission to Mars. The mission is part of a wider regional effort to build knowledge and create opportunities, particularly for youth.

Omran Sharaf, the mission’s project manager at the Dubai-based Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC), said, “This mission is not just about the UAE, it’s about the region, it’s about the Arab issue.”

It was important, he said, to inspire the region’s youth, especially during these troubled times.

“The region is going through tough times and we do need good news and we need the youth in the region to really start looking inwards, building their own nations and putting differences aside to coexist with people with different faiths and backgrounds and work together,” he said.

Separately on Tuesday, in yet another sign of warming ties with Israel a UAE Etihad Airways airplane landed at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport carrying medical aid for the Palestinians.

This is the second plane from UAE to land in Israel, with the first arriving only last month. While last time the plane was unmarked, Tuesday’s flight displayed the Etihad logo and the UAE flag.

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