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Saudi Arabia will allow Israel tourists to visit Tiran and Sanafir: Globes

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (R)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (R)

The Israeli economic website, Globes, reported that Saudi Arabia plans to make the islands of Tiran and Sanafir a tourist destination, including hotels and casinos, which Israelis can visit.

The site quoted informed sources as saying that Saudi Arabia will allow the Israelis to spend their holidays in Tiran and Sanafir and plans to build a bridge linking the two islands with Egypt.

It pointed out that the vision of the Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, includes opening the country to the world, through huge tourism projects along the Red Sea, all the way to Eilat.

The site mentioned that the signing of the agreement on the maritime borders between Egypt and Saudi Arabia in 2016 was under Israeli conditions, provided that the transfer of ownership does not conflict with the peace agreement in Egypt.

The peace agreement between Egypt and Israel stipulates that a multinational force operate on the islands, and Israel fears that the demarcation of the borders will lead to Saudi control of the exit from Eilat, and it wants to guarantee the freedom of Israeli maritime movement.

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Sources also told the site that the opening of the islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Israeli tourists indicates Saudi Arabia's desire to enhance steps to get closer to Israel.

However, this vision will be realised gradually and in ways that do not have long-term political significance, the sources say, "It will be at a slow pace, with more additional steps that will bring the countries closer together, but the real breakthrough is not here yet. Things need to calm down a bit; we'll see where the Netanyahu government is headed but, in the end, it's in the interest of all the countries involved to reach a full agreement."

In a related context, an official in the Red Sea tourism project in Saudi Arabia said that the Kingdom will not impose any restrictions on women inside the project, and that women there can freely wear bikinis.

According to the Hotelier website, the senior Travel Trade Director, Loredana Pettinati, said while she was in the UAE, that the project will not distinguish between men and women, the abaya will not be mandatory, and proof of marriage is not required to accompany a woman or book a hotel.

Answering questions from the audience, Pettinati said, "There will be no restrictions on women, in all parts of Saudi Arabia."

She added, "Even if you are not married, you will not have a problem with staying in hotels. We will not ask a man or woman if they are married or not when booking a hotel."

"Women will be able to wear bikinis in the Red Sea," she emphasised.

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