It is all happening after the United Arab Emirates joined hands with Israel for better inter-relations. Israeli and the UAE flights will be able to fly over Saudi Arabia as it opens its airspace. The kingdom on Wednesday said all services to and from the UAE can cross its airspace.
Saudi Arabia mostly bans flights to and from Israel from using its airspace, though since 2018 it has permitted Air India to fly over the country to Tel Aviv.
The decision, which the kingdom’s aviation authority said came at the request of the UAE, follows a historic agreement last month between Abu Dhabi and Israel to normalize ties.
All flights to and from the UAE including Israeli flights can use Saudi airspace, the state news agency reported, citing the aviation authority, without mentioning Israel, said Reuters.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, without citing Saudi Arabia, said Israeli planes can fly directly to the UAE, tracing the flight path on a map with his finger over the kingdom.
The decision cuts flying time between the Middle East states by several hours.
Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud said shortly after the airspace report that the kingdom’s position in support of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital had not changed.
Emirati and Israeli officials will allow their citizens to visit each other’s countries once they normalize ties and have said there would be direct service.
Those traveling from Israel will gain better access to hundreds of global destinations via Abu Dhabi and Dubai hubs once flights launch.
Israel’s El Al this week flew through Saudi airspace. It was carrying the US and Israeli delegations from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi. The first official flight by an Israeli carrier over the kingdom. The return flight also used Saudi airspace.
Palestinians are watching with dismay
The Palestinians are watching with dismay as Arab nations, once hostile to Israel, have opened to cooperation. The UAE’s move confused the Palestinians and the Muslim world.
Senior US and Israeli officials landed in the UAE on Monday, this is a historic trip to finalize the normalization deal and Palestinians have to negotiate peace. It’s a pact that marks open relations between Israel and the Gulf state.
The officials also told Palestinians it was now time for them to negotiate peace. For the US, Israeli, and UAE are going to normalize a deal.
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner said Washington could maintain Israel’s military edge while advancing its ties to the UAE.
Palestinians are worried that it would weaken an Arab position that called for Israeli withdrawal from occupied territory.
Palestinians should not be “stuck in the past”, said Kushner.
Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan rejected any possibility that Pakistan could establish relations with Israel. He proved once again that our green passport is not for sale. Turkey also condemned the UAE after it announced the pact with Israel.
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