Israel Preparing For Flights To UAE Over Saudi Arabia

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepares to give a statement at Ben Gurion International Airport, in Lod, near Tel Aviv, Israel on August 17,  2020. — Reuters

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Mini­ster Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that the Jewish state was preparing for direct flights, over Saudi Arabia, to the United Arab Emirates as part of its normalisation deal with the UAE.

Israel and UAE announced on Thursday that they would normalise diplomatic relations under a US-sponsored deal whose implementation could reshape Middle East politics from the Palestinian issue to the fight against Iran.

Netanyahu, briefed at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion airport on plans for expanding flight activity curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic, gave no timeframe for the opening of an air link with the Gulf Arab country.

“We are currently working on enabling direct flights, over Saudi Arabia, between Tel Aviv and Dubai and Abu Dhabi,” Netanyahu told reporters, estimating the flight time at “about three hours, just like to Rome”.

Saudi Arabia does not recognise Israel and its air space is closed to Israeli airliners.

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