UAE cancels participation in Israeli flyover due to Temple Mount riots

The announcements came as the UAE Foreign Ministry summoned Israel's Ambassador Amir Hayek over police actions against Palestinian rioters on Jerusalem's Temple Mount and in the Old City

French-made Mirage 2000 and US-made F-16 fighter jets of the United Arab Emirates forces take part in joint military maneuvers with the French army in the desert of Abu Dhabi, May 2, 2012. (photo credit: REUTERS/BEN JOB)
French-made Mirage 2000 and US-made F-16 fighter jets of the United Arab Emirates forces take part in joint military maneuvers with the French army in the desert of Abu Dhabi, May 2, 2012.
(photo credit: REUTERS/BEN JOB)

Emirati airline Wizz Air Abu Dhabi has canceled its participation in Israel's Independence Day flyover this year, amid Arab condemnation of Temple Mount and Old City violence, according to the Israel Pilot's Association.

It tweeted that it had "received a message today from #WizzairAbuDhabi that it will not be able to participate in the Independence Day flight in Israel.

"The announcement was made shortly after the announcement of the summoning of the Israeli ambassador to Abu Dhabi for a conversation at the Foreign Ministry in the United Arab Emirates.

"We are sorry for this decision," it explained. 

Etihad Airways was also thought to have been slated to participate in the flyover, but the airline agency issued a statement saying that "as the national airline of the UAE, Etihad Airways does not participate in official ceremonies of foreign nations. Etihad can confirm that it is not and was not ever scheduled to participate in a flyover ceremony with Israel."

An Etihad Airways Airbus A320-200 at the National Airport Minsk, Belarus, April 19, 2018.  (credit: VASILY FEDOSENKO / REUTERS)An Etihad Airways Airbus A320-200 at the National Airport Minsk, Belarus, April 19, 2018. (credit: VASILY FEDOSENKO / REUTERS)

UAE's participation in the flyover had been intended to hight the increased cooperation between the two countries, which had normalized ties in 2020 under the US-brokered Abraham Accords.

The announcements came as the UAE Foreign Ministry summoned Israel's Ambassador Amir Hayek over police actions against Palestinian rioters on Jerusalem's Temple Mount and in the Old City. 

Hayek, who is Israel's first ambassador to the UAE arrived there in October of last year and this is the first time he has been summoned. He met Tuesday with Minister of State for International Cooperation Reem bint Ebrahim Al Hashimy.

Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi on Monday similarly spoke with Israel's Deputy Ambassador Sami Abu Janeb on the same issue. 

On Tuesday Al Hashimy told Hayek that full protection must be given to Palestinian worshipers on the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif.

She asked Israel to preserve the sanctity of the al-Aqsa Mosque and "expressed concern over the escalation of tension that threatens stability and security in the region," according to her office.

Al Hashimy underscored the importance of respecting Jordan's custodial role on the Temple Mount. She spoke of the need to resume a peace process for the "establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital in accordance with legitimate international resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative."

The UAE, like Jordan, has been concerned that Israel is disrupting the status quo on the Temple Mount, a charge that Israel has denied.