AJC Hails Saudi Decision to Open Air Space to Israeli Flights
July 15, 2022 — New York
American Jewish Committee (AJC) hailed today’s announcement that Saudi Arabia will permit Israeli commercial flights to traverse the kingdom’s airspace.
“In the spirit of the historic Abraham Accords, today’s Saudi announcement is a significant example of normalization that will further advance the promise and reality of Arab-Israeli peace,” said AJC CEO David Harris.
The announcement came as President Biden ended his visit to Israel and flew directly to Jeddah for meetings with Saudi and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) leaders. As Biden noted, “Saudi Arabia’s historic decision to open its airspace for all civilian planes, including those flying to and from Israel, is an important step towards building a more integrated and stable Middle East region.”
An additional announcement is expected while the president is in Saudi Arabia that will allow Israeli Arab citizens to fly directly to the kingdom to participate in the annual hajj in Mecca.
For more than 30 years, AJC delegations have been visiting the Gulf region — sometimes publicly, sometimes not — to deepen understanding of Israel, nurture bilateral relations, and enhance Muslim-Jewish cooperation. AJC’s first office in an Arab country, AJC Abu Dhabi: The Sidney Lerner Center for Arab-Jewish Understanding, opened in 2021.
“The Biden Administration’s efforts to broaden Arab-Israeli peace, building upon substantive achievements by previous U.S. administrations, demonstrate the unique value of America’s engagement in the vital Middle East region,” said Harris.