Netanyahu Shut Airspace to Jordan Flights Following UAE Visit Spat

Order was ultimately cancelled, journalist Ben Caspit reported, but came after Jordan stalled approval of Netanyahu's planned flight through Jordanian airspace to the UAE

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during his meeting with the prime ministers of Hungary and the Czech Republic in Jerusalem last week
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during his meeting with the prime ministers of Hungary and the Czech Republic in Jerusalem last week Credit: Abir Sultan / AP

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered Israel’s airspace closed to flights from Jordan last week after the kingdom stalled its approval of his planned flight through Jordanian airspace to the United Arab Emirates.

According to Israeli journalist Ben Caspit, Transportation Ministry officials opposed the order and delayed its implementation, and it was ultimately canceled before it affected any scheduled flights from Jordan.

According to Caspit’s report, Netanyahu asked Transportation Minister Miri Regev to relay the order to both the Israel Airports Authority and the Civil Aviation Authority without first consulting the Defense Ministry, the Foreign Ministry, the diplomatic-security cabinet, the Mossad or the Shin Bet security service.

The order would have violated the Israeli-Jordanian peace agreement of 1994, which allows each country’s planes to fly through the other’s airspace.

Netanyahu was set to make his first official visit to the UAE on Thursday since the two countries agreed to normalize ties, but Jordan did not approve the flight path of Netanyahu's plane. A day earlier, Jordanian Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah canceled a planned visit to Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound over a dispute regarding security arrangements at the site.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi told CNN that Jordan is "angry" with Israel over the canceled Jerusalem visit.

In an interview with Israel's Channel 13 News on Saturday, Netanyahu said that "Jordan needs good relations with us as much as we need good relations with Jordan, and we have that.”  

Defense Minister Benny Gantz slammed Netanyahu for harming Israel's relations with Jordan in recent years, tweeting "Netanyahu has seriously damaged relations with Jordan with his behavior in recent years."   

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