In Major Win for Israel, Saudi Arabia Greenlights Airspace for All UAE Flights

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The announcement comes in the wake of the first ever commercial flight from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi on Monday which crossed over Saudi airspace, as Breitbart Jerusalem reported.

The decision was the result of a joint request by the UAE and the U.S., coordinated by White House Special Adviser Jared Kushner.

The new policy, which was announced by the state-run Saudi Press Agency, did not mention Israel by name but instead said that starting immediately, flights “from all countries” would be permitted to use its airspace to the UAE. Until now, all countries except for Israel were granted that right.

The use of Saudi airspace cuts flight time by about four hours.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the announcement as a “huge breakthrough” that will boost Israeli air travel and reduce airfare.

“These are the benefits of a peace that is genuine,” Netanyahu said.

“I want to thank Jared Kushner and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed for today’s important contribution,” he said.

“Now there is another tremendous breakthrough: Israeli planes and those from all countries will be able to fly directly from Israel to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and back. Flights will be cheaper and shorter, and it will lead to robust tourism and develop our economy.”

The move “will open up the East,” Netanyahu continued.

“When you fly to Thailand or anywhere else in Asia, it will save time and money. This is amazing news for you, the citizens of Israel. These are the benefits of a peace that is genuine,” he said.

He added that there is “a great deal more good news to come.”

Both Netanyahu and Kushner have repeatedly said more peace deals with Arab states are in the offing. Oman and Bahrain are touted as the next Arab nations likely to normalize ties with Israel.

However, Saudi Arabia has expressed its position it will not seek normalization with Israel before a peace deal with the Palestinians was struck.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud on Wednesday reiterated the Saudi stance, saying that the decision to open up its skies did not alter its view on Israel’s acceptance of the Arab Peace Initiative – a 2002 Saudi-led drive stipulating Arab normalization with Israel in return for Palestinian statehood based on the 1967 borders.

“The Kingdom’s firm and established positions towards the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people will not change by allowing the passage of the Kingdom’s airspace for flights coming to and departing from the United Arab Emirates to all countries,” the foreign minister said.