Oman is reported to have taken firm steps by refusing to allow Israeli commercial flights to pass through their airspace.
Israel Hayom newspaper on Thursday first shared a report on the Kingdom of Oman’s opposition to opening up its airspace to Israeli commercial logging due to pressure from Iran, although other Gulf states have opened up theirs amid strained relations with Israel.
The report on Oman’s contrasting stance with other Gulf countries certainly came as a surprise to the public, considering that exactly a week earlier the Chief Executive of Israel Airlines El Al Airlines Dina Ben-Tal said that Israel would receive official permission to fly over Oman as soon as the Israeli airline received permission to fly over Saudi’s airspace.
Ben Tal then said that not only permission from Saudi Arabia but they also needed other complete routes to be approved.
However it seems that the plan was rejected by Oman following pressure from Iran. The Israeli newspaper reported that Oman’s decision came on the same day that the Foreign Ministers of Oman and Iran made a phone call to discuss bilateral relations and regional issues.
In July, in conjunction with US President Joe Biden’s regional visit to the Middle East, Saudi Arabia announced it would open its airspace to all airlines that meet transit requirements. This prompted El Al and smaller Israeli rival Arkia to apply for flight permits in the airspace of Saudi Arabia and Oman. Israeli authorities was hoping that Oman will follow in Saudi’s footsteps
Oman’s decision to close its airspace to Israeli flights certainly disrupts the Zionist state’s plans to take advantage of the aviation corridor over the Gulf which can save time and fuel.
Without Oman’s permission to open its airspace to Israeli aircraft, flights that should have crossed Saudi skies to the Indian Ocean and to various destinations in the East would not have been possible. It means the Israeli plane was forced to fly out of Saudi skies and flew south over the Red Sea around Yemen.
Saudi Arabia’s approval to allow Israeli airlines to fly in its airspace was accused of being the beginning of normalizing relations between the two countries, which Saudi authorities quickly denied.
Oman has repeatedly insisted that it will not normalize relations with Israel until the Palestinians are granted a state of their own.