Netanyahu cancels historic trip to UAE as Jordan refuses overflight

A delay turned to cancellation for Netanyahu’s trip to the Emirates.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remained on the ground in Israel Thursday as his planned historic first visit to the United Arab Emirates was delayed and then canceled.

Netanyahu’s visit to the UAE to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan would have been his first official visit to the Arab Gulf state since the two countries established full diplomatic relations.

There were unconfirmed rumors that Netanyahu may also meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman while in the Gulf.

However, problems began when his wife Sara was hospitalized for a medical emergency. That was followed by another emergency when neighboring Jordan refused to approve his overflight.

It was the latter that put the kibosh on the trip.

The prime minister’s media adviser released a statement on Thursday only referring to the Jordan issue, saying Netanyahu’s “visit was postponed due to difficulties in coordinating his flight in Jordanian airspace.

“These difficulties apparently stemmed from the cancellation of the Jordanian Crown Prince’s visit to the Temple Mount due to a disagreement over security procedures at the site,” the media adviser said.

Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah turned back for home on Wednesday when he brought more armed guards than agreed to for a visit to the Temple Mount and Israel refused him entry.

Jordan had a change of heart later in the day but by then it was too late for the trip.

“Jordan recently announced that it would allow the Prime Minister’s flight to use Jordanian airspace but since the announcement was received late, the Prime Minister and Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed agreed to coordinate on another date for the Prime Minister’s visit,” the media adviser said in his statement.

Sara Netanyahu was admitted to a Jerusalem hospital Wednesday night with an apparent case of appendicitis. It’s not known if she required an operation.