Photo Credit: Sharia Lotan, FB video screengrab
Desolate hall bereft of travelers at Ben Gurion International Airport. April 2020.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has once again been forced to postpone his visit to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain due to ongoing COVID-19 travel restrictions.

“Despite the importance of the trip to Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to postpone the visit at this stage because of the closed skies,” Netanyahu’s office said Thursday in a statement to media.

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“Prime Minister Netanyahu very much appreciates the invitations of Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed and King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa and the historic peace that has been established between our countries.”

The trip was postponed indefinitely.

Ben Gurion International Airport remains closed to all air tariff for the time being as the country works to stop the spread of the newest variants of the coronavirus and the pandemic at large.

The prime minister was set to travel to the Gulf States ahead of Israel’s March 23 elections. It would have been Netanyahu’s first official visit to Abu Dhabi and Manama since the Gulf States formally established diplomatic ties with Israel last September after years of quiet relations.

But the plans have been repeatedly postponed due to political crises at home and difficulties relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.