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Saudi Arabia breaks 72-year taboo with green light to Israeli flights

Saudi approved a UAE request to use the kingdom's airspace "for all flights coming to the United Arab Emirates and leaving to all countries," a consequential, if oblique outreach to Israel

Saudi Arabia | israel | United Arab Emirates

Dana Khraiche & Ivan Levingston | Bloomberg 

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel PM
These are the benefits of a peace that is genuine, said Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel PM

Israeli airlines will be allowed to cross through on a regular basis, shattering a 72-year taboo as Gulf Arab nations and the Jewish state draw steadily closer together.

On Wednesday, approved a request to use the kingdom’s airspace “for all flights coming to the and leaving to all countries,” a consequential, if oblique outreach to The short statement by the state-run Saudi Press Agency, citing an unidentified official at the aviation authority, was quickly followed by a tweet from the foreign minister.

Two days earlier, allowed Israel’s flagship carrier, El Al Airlines, to fly over its territory for the first time to hold a first round of peace talks with the UAE in Abu Dhabi.

The opening of Saudi skies, closed because the countries have never had diplomatic relations, reflects the growing willingness by Gulf Arab states to publicly recognise a rapprochement with that’s rooted in a common animosity toward Iran.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the decision. “These are the benefits of a peace that is genuine,” he said.

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First Published: Thu, September 03 2020. 01:47 IST