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

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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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