Bahrain opens skies to Israel, joining Saudis in allowing overflights

Bahrain, too, has agreed to allow overflight permission to Israeli flights.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

The Bahrain government announced on Thursday that it will let Israeli flights pass over its territory en route to the United Arab Emirates.

The decision comes a day after Saudi Arabia said that flights to and from the United Arab Emirates “from all countries” would able to use its airspace.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Saudi Arabia’s decision. “Another huge breakthrough – Israeli planes and planes from all countries will be able to fly directly from Israel to Abu Dhabi, Dubai and back. It will lower costs on flights, it will shorten time, it will develop tremendous tourism, it will open our economy,” he said.

Netanyahu also said “it will open the East. When you fly to Thailand or anywhere else in Asia, it will shave off hours and prices. A huge message to you, citizens of Israel. These are the fruits of peace – of true peace.”

The opening of Arab skies to Israeli flights follows the normalization agreement between the UAE and the Jewish State. Unlike the agreements between Egypt and Jordan, the only other two peace deals signed between Israel and Arab countries, which can best be described as a cold peace, the UAE agreement appears to getting off to a much warmer start.

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“When we are talking about peace, we are talking about a comprehensive peace,” Dr. Ali Rashid al Nuaimi, an influential Emeriti figure, told All Arab News on Tuesday.

“We are talking about breaking all those walls and boundaries and building those bridges. So the sky is the limit for our relations,” al Nuaimi said.

On Monday, the first-ever commercial El Al flight to the UAE was given permission by Saudi Arabia to use its airspace, cutting the flight time by half to 3 1/2 hours. It wasn’t known until the day of the flight whether permission would be given. Without the Saudis’ OK, the flight would have been forced to take the long way around the Arabian peninsula with a flight time of over seven hours.