Saturday, June 17, 2017
SAUDI ARABIA-ISRAEL FLIGHTS PLANNED, NORMALIZING TEL AVIV-RIYADH TIES
Flights between Tel Aviv and Saudi Arabia are about to start signaling closer cooperation between the Israeli and Saudi regimes.
According to Yedioth Ahronoth daily, direct flights from the Israeli Ben Gurion Airport to Saudi Arabia with a stopover in Amman, Jordan are to kick off sometime soon. The daily noted that the flights will be a symbolic move aiming to normalize ties between the Tel Aviv and Riyadh.
Yedioth Ahronoth quoted an Israeli official as stating that talks have been in full swing to put the agreement into effect at the soonest time possible. The agreement is seen as part of efforts by the US to ensure there is close collaboration and cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the Israeli regime.
Recently, Israeli regime's transport minister proposed linking its freight railway network with Jordan and Saudi Arabia and said he presented the idea to US President Donald Trump's West Asia envoy. Under the proposal, goods and passengers could travel by rail from the Mediterranean port of Haifa in occupied territories through Jordan to Saudi Arabia's Gulf port of Dammam via Jordan.
During his visit to the West Asia region last month Trump made a direct flight between Riyadh to Tel Aviv in what was termed as the first direct flight between the two cities.
The Saudi rulers claim to be the custodians of the two holy Islamic sites in Mecca and Medina but have moved ahead to establish ties with the Israeli regime which continues to occupy Palestinian territories especially the al-Aqsa mosque in al-Quds (Jerusalem), the third holiest site in Islam.
Israeli regime’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said it is time for Tel Aviv make public its close ties with some Arab countries.
Speaking during the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in February 2016, Netanyahu said that the so-called moderate Arab countries see Israel as their ally, not their enemy, as they share a common struggle against Iran among others.
Netanyahu’s remarks came after the then Israeli War Minister Moshe Ya’alon said there were open channels between Israel and other Arab states, but the “sensitive” situation prevents him from shaking hands with Arab officials in public. He later publicly shook the hand of Saudi Prince Turki bin Faisal al-Saud.