Saudi Arabia introduced Wednesday that it will enable any flights going to and from the United Arab Emirates to fly over its territory, a transfer that might give Israel entry to a number of the kingdom’s airspace for the primary time.
The announcement, made on the request of the United Arab Emirates, got here days after the primary direct flight from Israel to the emirates — a symbolic transfer as the 2 nations start normalizing relations.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, in a video assertion delivered whereas standing in entrance of a map of the area, known as the announcement a “great breakthrough.”
“Flights can be cheaper and shorter, and it’ll lead to strong tourism and develop our financial system,” Mr. Netanyahu stated, whereas tracing the route between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi along with his finger on the map. He additionally stated the route would enable Israelis to save money and time when touring east to Asia.
“These are the advantages of a peace that’s real,” he stated.
The flight from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi on Monday handed by way of Saudi airspace, the primary time the dominion had explicitly allowed an Israeli business jet to move over its territory. Air India had earlier obtained approval to fly immediately to Israel, and in 2018 established a direct route from New Delhi to Tel Aviv that handed over the dominion.
Saudi Arabia’s choice to formally enable flights to and from Israel from the United Arab Emirates make the route extra commercially viable, reducing an almost seven-hour journey in half.
Monday’s flight was the newest signal of rising diplomatic and business ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates that some hope will lead to comparable strikes in different Arab nations which have lengthy refused to acknowledge the Jewish state. A landmark settlement got here after six weeks of oblique talks between Israel and the emirates, with Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, enjoying a central position.
The 2 nations introduced the accord final month after many years of stalemate. The United Arab Emirates is simply the third Arab nation to set up diplomatic relations with Israel. Egypt signed a peace settlement with the nation in 1979, and Jordan signed a treaty in 1994.
Mr. Netanyahu thanked Mr. Kushner and Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of the emirate of Abu Dhabi, for the “vital contribution” towards opening up the airspace, including that there would “be a terrific deal extra excellent news to come.”
The Saudi announcement in the country’s official press agency refers to permitting “all flights” to move by way of its airspace, however makes no direct reference to Iran or Qatar, two nations presently banned from flying over the kingdom. The announcement seems to refer solely to the graduation of business flights between Israel and the emirates, and stated the choice was a response to a “request by the U.A.E.”
Saudi officers have been fast to affirm that the change in guidelines in its airspace didn’t sign any departure from its present stance on the Israel-Palestinian subject.
“The Kingdom’s positions concerning the Palestinian trigger and persons are mounted and agency,” Faisal bin Farhan, Saudi Arabia’s overseas minister said in a post on Twitter. He stated that giving permission to “flights arriving within the United Arab Emirates in addition to these departing from it to all international locations” to use the dominion’s airspace didn’t change that.
Adam Rasgon contributed reporting.