Kushner: Saudi Arabia agreed to open its airspace to all flights from Israel

“Countries are starting to let go of old conflicts and move in the direction of peace,” declared Kushner.

El Al plane equipped with Elbit's Directed IR Countermeasures (photo credit: ELBIT)
El Al plane equipped with Elbit's Directed IR Countermeasures
(photo credit: ELBIT)
Saudi Arabia has agreed to open its airspace to flights between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and to all eastward travel, according to Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser.
He briefed the press on Wednesday ahead of the September 15 signing ceremony for the Abraham Accord between Israel and the UAE.
Addressing the decision of Saudi Arabia to open its airspace, Kushner said: “That will save people a lot of time and knock down a barrier that’s been up for 72 years.”
“Countries are starting to let go of old conflicts and move in the direction of peace,” he said, adding that following Saudi Arabia, Bahrain took the same step. “All this will cut down a lot of the travel time between different countries that [will] allow people from Saudi to go to Europe faster if they fly over Israel and people [traveling] from Israel to Asia and Asia to Israel to have much more connectivity.”
“It’s a tremendous barrier that’s been taken away,” Kushner said. “You’re seeing every day new announcements of airlines that are looking to fly from Israel to different Arab cities that traditionally they weren’t allowed to go to and back.
“You have a lot of excitement building in the Arab and Muslim world, with people wanting to go to Israel to visit the tourist sites and to pray at al-Aqsa Mosque. You’re seeing kosher restaurants opening up now in Dubai.”
“Every day, we’re seeing new announcements, which is showing the progress that this peace is bringing to the Middle East,” he said.
The US administration plans to invite representatives from both parties to attend the signing ceremony, Kushner said.
“This is something that should be bipartisan,” he said. “We will invite Democrats and Republicans to be here. This has been praised by people on both sides of the aisle, and hopefully, this is one issue that can stay out of politics.”
Regarding the “Peace for Prosperity” plan and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Kushner said: “People want to see a resolution that’s fair and proper. But they’re not going to hold back their own progress now in order to allow this conflict to continue to be stuck in the mud.”
“We put out the most detailed proposal ever for the Palestinians,” he said. “Israel agreed to a state for the Palestinians, and they agreed to a map, which is something that had never been done before.
“In the first meetings with [PA] President [Mahmoud] Abbas, he said if you could get Israel to agree to a map, then the rest will be easy to figure out. We did better than that: We got them to agree to a state.”
While the offer still stands, the administration decided “not to chase them,” Kushner said.
“We worked very carefully on that proposal, which is what we thought would be a fair place to start from,” he said. “Israel agreed to negotiate on that basis, and then the Palestinians rejected it before it even came out – before they even knew what was in it. Their strategy has been just to try to avoid getting into the details on this.”
“But I think that there’s a real desire in the region to try to see it resolved and move on,”  Kushner said. “The offer still remains out there for their leadership.
“We’ve chosen not to chase them. But the moment that they’re ready to engage, we believe that we have the ability to make a peace deal between them and Israel. We can’t want them to have peace more than they want to have peace.”