Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried to stop flights from Jordan after being barred from flying to the UAE on Thursday via the Hashemite Kingdom’s airspace, Maariv, the sister publication of The Jerusalem Post, reported on Sunday.
Transportation Minister Miri Regev approved Netanyahu’s demand and with the instruction gave the relevant bodies 45 minutes to inform their Jordanian counterparts about the change.
The decision was called “borderline insane” by experts in the field. Not only is such a one-sided step a violation of the peace accords between the two countries, according to them, but non-Jordanian planes too would not be able to fly over Israel even if they do not hail from Amman.
Netanyahu was allegedly so angered by Jordan’s refusal to fly over its airspace to visit the UAE, he ordered the move without speaking with anyone else, including top ranking experts who are meant to offer the government guidance within the intelligence or diplomatic communities.
Rather than obeying the instruction, the airport officials flatly refused to carry it out, simply posing the Transportation Ministry a series of questions such as: What would happen to planes already in the air that planned on heading to their destination over Israel? Is Israel going to demand US planes also bypass if they come from the east?
Allegedly, once cabinet secretary Tzachi Braverman was informed that such a move would cause a massive retaliation, he checked with the prime minister only to return with a simple message: Do as Netanyahu said.
The report claims that the Jordanians never actually refused Netanyahu, but rather declined to give the UAE plane in Jordan permission to fly to Israel to pick up the prime minister. The UAE also did not blame their hosts but “technical issues.”
Netanyahu canceled the order within 90 minutes.
Netanyahu himself downplayed such reports in his speech to the nation, calling the whole thing a misunderstanding that was resolved in a few hours.
The situation with Jordan blew up last week when the Jordanian Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah was on his way to visit Jerusalem and his security detail was asked to wait, as the Jordanians exceeded the amount of people first agreed upon. Rather than wait, the young royal simply canceled the visit. The alleged refusal to allow the UAE plane to depart was after this incident.