Kushner Says Saudi Arabia Will Allow All Flights From Israel to Pass Through Its Airspace

Kushner's comments come ahead of the signing ceremony for the UAE-Israel normalization deal, to take place at the White House next week

Noa Landau
Noa Landau
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Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner  attends a press conference on September 4, 2020
Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner attends a press conference on September 4, 2020.Credit: Brendan Smialowski / AFP
Noa Landau
Noa Landau

Saudi Arabia has agreed to open its airspace to all flights departing from Israel heading eastward, the senior advisor and son-in-law of U.S. President Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, said on Thursday.

In a phone call with the press, Kushner said that the Gulf nation "agreed to open their airspace not just to flights from Israel to the United Arab Emirates and back, but to all eastward travel."

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According to Kushner, Bahrain followed suit adding that "all of this will cut down a lot of the travel time between different countries."

Kushner's comments come ahead of a signing ceremony for the historic diplomatic agreement normalizing relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates at the White House next week.

In the conversation, Kushner was asked whether the diplomatic relations between Israel and the Arab states would put an end to Israel's intention to annex settlements in the West Bank. He replied that "with our plan… we were trying to save the two-state solution because… if we kept going with the status quo of what was happening, ultimately, Israel would have eaten up all the land in the West Bank."

The Emirati, Israeli and U.S. flags are attached to an El Al airplane  adorned with the word 'peace' in Arabic, English and Hebrew, upon its arrival in Abu Dhabi on August 31, 2020.
The Emirati, Israeli and U.S. flags are attached to an El Al airplane adorned with the word 'peace' in Arabic, English and Hebrew, upon its arrival in Abu Dhabi on August 31, 2020. Credit: KARIM SAHIB / AFP

Asked whether Kushner or the Trump administration had invited Defense Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi to the White House signing ceremony, he replied that "both countries will be able to choose their delegations, so that will be up to them."

"With regards to here in the U.S.," Kushner said. "This is something that should be bipartisan.  We will invite Democrats and Republicans to be here."

Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israeli planes could pass over Saudi Arabia on their way to the United Arab Emirates and back. This came after a source in the Saudi Civil Aviation Authority announced that the authority had approved the UAE request to allow all flights departing from its territory to pass through Saudi airspace. Netanyahu called the announcement a "huge breakthrough." A day later, Bahrain also announced that flights between Israel and the United Arab Emirates would be able to fly through the airspace of the kingdom.

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