(Benjamin Netanyahu featured on the right of the thumbnail, the 9th Israeli PM)
For the first time in 70 years, a flight to Israel from India got an airspace rout through Saudi Arabia on Thursday with an Air India and Tel Aviv. Air India and Tel Aviv are commercial flights. This helped reduce the flight time by 2 hours.
This doesn’t seem much to an average person but it is a huge diplomatic step between the two countries. Saudi Arab and Israel remained enemies throughout the past decades and the Saudi airspace was not allowed to be used by the Israelis.
Although it is not formally recognized this is a step in the right direction, it will most certainly improve Israel’s relations with other Muslim countries as well. Because wherever Saudi Arab goes, other Muslim Countries seem to follow.
This surely, one of many efforts of Muhammad Bin Salman to modernize Saudi Arabia. His wants to remove Saudi dependence on oil. He pushed quite a lot of reforms lately.
This lifting of 70 years old ban is one of those efforts, nobody would have guessed it a few years ago.
An Israeli flight service El Al is looking to file a suit in the Israeli Supreme Court because according to them these moves give flights from India an unfair advantage. This will reduce flight-time as well as the cost of the flight, which will do hard to the Israeli airline.
Israeli analyst Jonathan Spyer said that the Saudi that this concession displayed that positive signs were being sent despite the lack of an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty.
‘I think that what this shows is even in the absence of that you can have small gestures that are of real meaning,’ Spyer, director of Israel’s Rubin Centre for Research in International Affairs, said
‘That’s what I think that this Saudi decision to allow the overflights consists of. It’s small but significant,’ he said.