(August 17, 2020 / JNS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that an effort is underway to enable flights between Israel and the United Arab Emirates to use Saudi airspace.
“We are working to allow for flights in Saudi skies between Tel Aviv and Dubai,” said Netanyahu, during a visit to Ben-Gurion International Airport, outside Tel Aviv. “We have already started working on opening the route over Saudi Arabia.”
His statement comes on the heels of the newly forged treaty between Jerusalem and Dubai, brokered by the United States. The deal was announced last Thursday by U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House.
Along with Bahrain, which was reported over the weekend as likely to become the second Gulf nation to establish formal relations with Israel, Saudi Arabia is expected to follow suit.
“I do think it is an inevitability that Saudi Arabia and Israel will have fully normalized relations,” said Trump senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner in an interview with CNBC on Friday.
Lauding the deal with Dubai—which, he said, “has among the largest free trade zones in the world”—Netanyahu told reporters on Monday that it would benefit Israeli consumers, as goods are manufactured cheaply in the UAE.
He also said that the Saudi connection would now allow Israelis to fly east, referring to the longtime need to fly westward from Tel Aviv, due to the opposition of several Arab and Muslim states to Israeli planes flying in their airspace.
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