The Trump administration announced on Wednesday that direct Israeli flights will now be allowed to go through Bahrain and Saudi Arabia airspace. It’s another milestone in the pursuit of peace in the Middle East. The block against direct flights had been in place for 72 years. What once was a 7 hour flight will now be cut in half.
The Times of Israel reported:
“Saudi Arabia and Bahrain will allow all flights to and from Israel to use their airspace in a significant change of policy, senior White House adviser Jared Kushner said Wednesday.
The two Gulf countries agreed last week to open their skies to Israeli flights to the United Arab Emirates following the announcement of the normalization deal between Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi.
However, Kushner told reporters, in a briefing ahead of a planned White House signing of the deal next week, that this would now include any and all Israeli flights to and from the East.
“They agreed to open their airspace not just to flights from Israel to the United Arab Emirates and back, but to all eastward travel,” Kushner said. “So when people make requests, they’ll grant those requests. That will save people a lot of time. That knocks down a barrier that’s been up for 72 years.”
Israeli airlines had been at a significant disadvantage in the past, being forced to take a detour of several hours skirting the Gulf and Iran on flights to the Far East. Saudi Arabia last year allowed Air India flights to Israel to use their airspace, but not El Al flights on the same route.
Allowing the use of Saudi and Bahraini airspace makes direct flights between Tel Aviv and the Emirates viable by cutting flying time from some seven hours to only three and a half hours.”
Jared Kushner, Jewish husband to Ivanka Trump, has been attacked numerous times for ‘not having the knowledge’ to be a peace negotiator. Seems like he’s doing just fine.
The President has been nominated once again for the Nobel Peace Prize after brokering a deal between Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi. It looks like all the naysayers are going to have to eat their words soon. Barriers are coming down. Barriers that Barack Obama made certain stayed up and running across the region.
The direct flight deal is to be signed by the President next week.
Featured photo: El Al airlines photo via FareHawker