Netanyahu scraps UAE, Bahrain trip over COVID-19 restrictions

This is the third time Netanyahu has postponed a trip to the UAE due to coronavirus-related restrictions and political developments in Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seen in a video conference with other world leaders discussing an international vaccine initiative, on January 18, 2021. (photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seen in a video conference with other world leaders discussing an international vaccine initiative, on January 18, 2021.
(photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has canceled his planned trip to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain for next week, citing the halting of all passenger flights in and out of Israel due to COVID-19, “despite the importance of the trip,” the Prime Minister’s Office said.
“Netanyahu very much appreciates the invitations from Crown Prince [of Abu Dhabi], Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayed and the King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa, and the historic peace between our countries,” the PMO said in a statement.
This is the third time Netanyahu has postponed a trip to the UAE due to corona-related restrictions and political developments at home.
Netanyahu was expected to visit Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, as well as Manama, Bahrain, next week, stopping only for a few hours in each city due to corona restrictions and concerns over its more-contagious variants.
The prime minister had planned to meet the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi in his palace.
The trip “has great security, national and international importance, but it has been shortened, at my request, from three days to three hours,” Netanyahu said in a news conference on Tuesday, adding that he was skipping a planned stop in Dubai.
The prime minister of Greece is expected to visit Israel on Monday, despite the airport closure. Private planes are still able to depart and enter Israel, as the attorney-general said blocking them would be illegal.