B’nai Brith Canada on Tuesday welcomed Saudi Arabia’s decision to open its airspace to flights heading to and from Israel.
In a statement, B’nai Brith Canada noted the move is a major step toward full normalization of relations between the two countries, furthering the isolation of Iran and its Palestinian terrorist proxies.
“This decision takes the steam out of the antizionism argument that fuels so much of the antisemitism we see even here in Canada,” said Marvin Rotrand, B’nai Brith’s National Director of its League for Human Rights. “Everyone benefits except for the Palestinian Authority and Hamas who refuse to make peace and continue to foment violence and terror. The rest of the world is quickly moving on.”
B’nai Brith Canada noted that the agreement will significantly reduce flight times between Israel and destinations in Asia, lower ticket cost and boost tourism. Aviation experts say that flights between Israel and Thailand will be shortened to eight hours and 25 minutes from about 11 hours, while flights to Mumbai, India will be reduced from eight hours to five hours and 15 minutes.
The opening of Saudi skies would make feasible an Israel-to-Australia route, which would take about 15.5 hours on a direct flight.
“The Arab world is recognizing Israel’s right to exist, that Jews are indigenous to the country and are seeking mutually beneficial partnerships with Israel,” said Michael Mostyn, B’nai Brith Canada’s Chief Executive Officer. “The democracies of the world have to take a tougher line with Iran and their Palestinian surrogates who continue to try to derail peace. Expanding the Abraham Accords is the way to go.”
The agreement also allows direct charter flights from Israel to Saudi Arabia facilitating quick-and-easy access for Israeli Muslim pilgrims wishing to participate in the Hajj.
The Saudi announcement about opening its airspace came hours before US President Joe Biden took off from Israel to Saudi Arabia, where he held a three-hour meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
After the meeting, Biden announced two agreements made with Saudi Arabia which are widely considered to be significant steps on the path toward normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia.
One of the deals announced concerns the removal of multinational forces from the Red Sea islands of Sanafir and Tiran, and the other concerns the opening of Saudi airspace for all Israeli flights.
A day later, however, Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir toldCNN that the kingdom will not agree to fully normalize relations with Israel unless a two-state solution is implemented.
"We have said that Saudi Arabia supports the Arab Peace Initiative," al-Jubeir told the news outlet. "In fact, we offered it. We have made it clear that peace comes at the end of this process, not at the beginning of it."
B'nai Brith said in its statement on Tuesday that it has repeatedly urged the Government of Canada to take a more proactive stance on aviation in the Middle East. B'nai Brith’s demand that Canada work with international partners - to stop airline overflights of Iran - remains on the table. The demand, supported by the Iranian diaspora, would punish Iran for the wanton shootdown of Ukraine Airlines flight PS 752 that killed all 176 passengers aboard.
Such a move would deprive Iran of significant revenue while opening Saudi skies that provide carriers an easy alternative linking west and east Asia, it added.