Saudi Arabia says it would open its airspace to “all carriers” ahead of President Joe Biden’s visit, a move that ends the ban on flights to and from Occupied Palestine.
It was the latest conciliatory move by Riyadh concerning the regime in Tel Aviv, which it has refused to recognize despite intensive efforts by the Israelis to establish ties with Arab countries.
The Saudi civil aviation authority “announces the decision to open the Kingdom’s airspace for all air carriers that meet the requirements of the authority for overflying,” it said in a statement on Twitter, according to France 24.
The decision was made “to complement the Kingdom’s efforts aimed at consolidating the Kingdom’s position as a global hub connecting three continents.”
Prior to Biden’s arrival in Occupied Palestine Wednesday, Washington had hinted that more Arab nations could take steps to pursue relations with Israel, spurring speculation about whether Riyadh would alter its long-held position of not establishing official bilateral ties until the Israeli regime continues to kill and displace Palestinians.
The kingdom did not show any opposition when its regional ally, the United Arab Emirates, established diplomatic ties with the Israeli regime in 2020, followed by Bahrain and Morocco under the US-brokered so-called Abraham Accords.
Yet analysts have stressed that any immediate gains are likely to be incremental and that Riyadh will probably not agree to formal ties — not during Biden’s visit or while King Salman, 86, still reigns.
Biden will travel to the Saudi city of Jeddah on the Red Sea coast Friday afternoon despite a previous vow to treat the kingdom as a “pariah” over the 2018 murder and dismemberment of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
He is to travel directly from the Occupied Lands to Saudi Arabia — becoming the first US president to fly from there to an Arab nation that does not recognize it.
In 2017, his predecessor, Donald Trump, made the journey in reverse.