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Israel FM flies over Saudi to reach UAE

July 9, 2019 at 12:34 pm

Israel’s Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz in New York, US on 9 April 2019 [Noa grayevsky/Getty Images for RSL Management Corpnoa]

Israel’s Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz flew through Saudi airspace with the kingdom’s consent while making his way to an official visit to the UAE capital Abu Dhabi last week, according to Arab48.

Katz visited the UAE as part of the UN Environment Conference and discussed the threat of a nuclear Iran, amongst other issues. He also presented the “Paths for Regional Peace” initiative to link Israel with the Gulf countries by a railway that would pass through Jordan.

This is not the first time that the kingdom has allowed flights to and from Israel to pass through its airspace. Last March, Air India made a journey to Israel by flying over Saudi Arabia for the first time, reducing travel times by 2.5 hours. This move was been seen as a sign of thawing ties between the occupation state and the kingdom.

Saudi had previously not allowed flights to Israel to travel through its airspace, with officials having to stop over in Amman before continuing on to Tel Aviv. However, in 2017, US President Donald Trump made the first journey from the kingdom directly to Tel Aviv.

Despite criticism from the Palestinian factions, recent months have seen high profile Israeli ministers visit a series of Gulf countries, the Bahraini foreign minister call for Israel to be accepted in the Middle East, and Israel claim it plans to open a diplomatic mission in Oman.

Last December, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that Oman had allowed Israeli planes to fly over its airspace, another step in the normalisation of relations between Israel and its Arab neighbours.

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