Israeli prime minister Thursday canceled his scheduled visit to the United Arab Emirates, according to Israeli media.
A statement by the premier’s office read: “It was expected that the prime minister, today, will visit the United Arab Emirates, but due to difficulties that occurred in coordinating the passage of his flight through Jordanian airspace, it was postponed.”
The statement pointed out that the difficulties “apparently surfaced” after the cancellation of the visit of the Jordanian Crown Prince to Al-Aqsa Mosque, as a result of a dispute over the security measures taken.
“Jordan announced during the last hour that it would allow the passage of the prime minister’s plane through Jordanian airspace, but due to the delay in receiving this announcement, Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Crown Prince of the Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, agreed to arrange another date for the visit,” the premier’s office said.
Israel’s official Kan TV channel reported late Wednesday that the Israeli authorities prevented the Jordanian Crown Prince, Hussein bin Abdullah, from visiting Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The channel stated that the visit was canceled “due to the Kingdom’s failure to abide by the understandings it reached with Israel regarding the security coordination for the visit, as the number of Jordanian security guards was higher than what was agreed upon, thus Israel refused to let them in.”
Earlier Thursday, the Israeli Broadcasting Corporation said Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision was due to a health problem that afflicted his wife last night.
“The wife of the prime minister, Sara Netanyahu, is lying in the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem due to appendicitis,” the corporation said Thursday.
The local media, including the Israel daily Yedioth Ahronoth, said that Netanyahu canceled his visit due to his wife’s health issues.
However, Israel’s Walla news portal quoted Israeli officials as saying that Netanyahu canceled his visit because Jordan did not allow Netanyahu’s flight to cross over its airspace.
Previously, Netanyahu postponed his visit to Abu Dhabi several times due to the COVID-19 restrictions in Israel.
In September 2020, Israel established formal relations with the UAE and Bahrain as part of a US-brokered agreement, a move followed by Sudan and Morocco.
*Bassel Barakat contributed to this report from Ankara
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