Bahrain to allow all Israel-UAE flights to use its airspace
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Bahrain to allow all Israel-UAE flights to use its airspace

Gulf state, which is expected to follow Abu Dhabi’s lead in normalising ties with Jerusalem, made landmark move similar to Saudi Arabia's last week

An Israeli-American delegation at a ceremony ahead of their departure from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi, at the Ben-Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, August 31, 2020. Photo by: Tomer Neuberg-JINIPIX
An Israeli-American delegation at a ceremony ahead of their departure from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi, at the Ben-Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, August 31, 2020. Photo by: Tomer Neuberg-JINIPIX

Bahrain has said it will allow “all flights coming to and departing from the United Arab Emirates” to cross its airspace, following the announcement last month that Israel and the UAE were normalising relations.

Bahrain is widely expected to be the next Gulf state to follow Abu Dhabi’s lead in officially thawing relations with Jerusalem, and its statement about airspace follows a similar announcement from Saudi Arabia last Wednesday.

It comes just days after Saudi Arabia allowed the first direct Israeli commercial passenger flight to use its airspace to reach the UAE, with the El Al plane carrying Israeli officials and business leaders for the historic visit.

Analysts say the Saudis’ acquiescence on flights is significant, not least because future UAE-bound flights from Israel can avoid travelling over the Persian Gulf, where Iran’s Revolutionary Guard remains active.

Bahrain hosts the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet as well as a British naval base. It has a historic Jewish community, the kingdom’s only Jewish parliamentarian Nancy Khedouri speaking at a Board of Deputies event in London in February.

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