Saudi Arabia prefers to normalize ties with Israel under Biden – report Under the US-brokered Abraham Accords, Israel has already signed normalization deals with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

Saudi Arabia appears to have delayed plans to normalize ties with Israel until after US President-elect Joe Biden enters office on January 20, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

It speculated that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “pulled back from a deal, according to the Saudi advisers and US officials, largely because of the US election result.”

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Israel warns citizens they could be targeted by Iran, as outbound tourism renews

NSC advises caution following bombing at New Delhi embassy, names recent Gulf partners UAE and Bahrain among countries risky for Israelis

Passengers seen at the Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv on March 8, 2021. (Flash90)

The National Security Council issued a travel advisory Monday, warning that Iran may still try to attack Israelis overseas, amid increased international travel following Israel’s rapid vaccination drive.

In the advisory, the NSC said that Iranian officials had threatened to attack Israeli targets over the last few months, adding that Iran had already conducted a bombing attack near the Israeli embassy in India in January.

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Repeatedly delayed, Netanyahu’s trip to Gulf states postponed indefinitely

PM’s office says he appreciates invitations to Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, but won’t make journey because of Israel’s ban on air travel amid pandemic

From left to right: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani stand on the Blue Room Balcony during the Abraham Accords signing ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House, September 15, 2020, in Washington. (Alex Brandon/AP)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned trip next week to Gulf states that have recently normalized ties with Israel has been postponed, the Prime Minister’s Office said Thursday, and no new date has been fixed.

The Israeli leader had planned to travel to Abu Dhabi and Manama ahead of the March 23 elections, in what would have been his first official visit since the establishment of official diplomatic relations with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain last year. The trip was tentatively scheduled for early January, and then for later in the month, but was pushed off by COVID-related considerations.

The PMO said in Thursday’s statement that the decision to indefinitely postpone the trip was made due to the closing down of air travel to and from Israel as part of a national lockdown aimed at preventing coronavirus infections arriving from abroad.

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On last full day in office, Trump decorates Bahrain king for Israel deal

US president bestows Legion of Merit on King Hamad in recognition of his ‘extraordinary courage and leadership’ in deciding to normalize ties with Jewish state

US President Donald Trump, right, shaking hands with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, during a bilateral meeting at a hotel in the Saudi capital Riyadh, May 21, 2017. (Mandel Ngan/AFP)

WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump bestowed a rare award on King Hamad of Bahrain on Tuesday, acknowledging the Gulf state’s normalization of ties with Israel on his last full day in office.

Trump, who sees Arab recognition of Israel as a key overseas achievement of his presidency, conferred the same award on King Mohammed VI of Morocco last week for his move to restore ties.

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When Israel and Arab nations unite, world should take note, says UN ambassador

 Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan reflected on 2020 and how “Israel’s future looks brighter than ever” in his address on Sunday night at the Zionist Organization of America’s Virtual Superstar Gala.

Erdan, also Israel’s incoming ambassador to the United States, received the ZOA’s Woo KaiSheng Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Diplomacy. In his acceptance speech, he said that while this past year “supplied a fair amount of hate, it also delivered a fair amount of peace.”

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The Trump administration has hoped Saudi Arabia would join the UAE and Bahrain in recognizing Israel and forging diplomatic ties, a move seen as increasingly distant in the wake of Joe Biden’s election as US president.

But Saudi leaders have hitherto indicated that Israeli-Palestinian peace will have to come first.

Riyadh announced in early September that it had “approved the request received from the General Civil Aviation Authority in the United Arab Emirates, which includes the desire to allow flights coming to and departing from the United Arab Emirates to all countries to pass through the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s airspace,” according to the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

The decision was seen as a nod toward normalization with Israel, after years of lobbying Riyadh to allow Israeli overflights. It came days after an El Al plane carrying Israeli and US dignitaries to the UAE was allowed to cross Saudi airspace.

Being able to fly over Saudi Arabia would significantly shrink flight times to India, China and other countries in the Far East where Israel is seeking to boost trade ties.

UAE carriers have already launched flights to Israel. Last Thursday, Netanyahu welcomed the first commercial flydubai flight to the Jewish state at Ben Gurion Airport, which marked the launch of its Tel Aviv-Dubai route.

“This is a moment of history because it is the first commercial flight between Dubai and Israel,” he said shortly after flight number FZ1163 had landed in Tel Aviv.

“There will be many more, going both directions. But you can only be first once,” he said at a welcoming ceremony in the arrival hall. “And this is a pivotal moment, because we’re changing history. It’s not that we’re marching forward, we’re flying, with breakneck speed, into a new era that is now clearly changing the Middle East.”

He added: “For me, it’s the realization of a dream.”

The same plane later in the day made its way back to Dubai, with some 200 Israelis on board.

The Emirati state-owned budget airliner is offering twice-daily flights between the two cities.

Earlier this month, Israel’s cabinet ratified a mutual visa exemption agreement with the UAE — the Jewish state’s first-ever such agreement with an Arab country. The agreement is expected to enter into force next month.

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