Private plane arrives in Riyadh from Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport

Private plane arrives in Riyadh from Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport
An Israeli aircraft took off from Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport and landed in Saudi Arabia after a one hour stopover in the Jordanian capital city of Amman
2 min read
15 June, 2022
The Israeli jet stayed in Riyadh for around three hours [Getty]

A private Israeli jet landed in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday morning amid speculation that the two countries could soon normalise relations.

The aircraft, which has been identified as 9H-VCA, departed from Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport and landed in the Saudi capital city Riyadh, according to public Israeli broadcaster Kan

It initially arrived in Tel Aviv on Monday from the Italian city of Bari. It took off to Riyadh on Tuesday morning via Jordanian airspace and stopped in Amman.

After staying in Riyadh for about three hours, the plane headed towards the Greek city of Athens.

Neither Saudi nor Israeli officials have issued statements on the trip.

Saudi Arabia does not have official diplomatic relations with Israel, but its Gulf allies Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates signed the US-brokered Abraham Accords to normalise ties with Tel Aviv in 2020.

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Riyadh supported the accords, but at that time stated it would only normalise relations with Israel if there was ‘significant progress’ towards peace between Israel and Palestine. 

In May, an unnamed senior Israeli official visited Saudi Arabia, Israeli news outlet Channel 12 reported.

The official was welcomed at an unspecified Saudi palace for talks on security cooperation and energy security.

The meeting was reported widely across Israeli media, although no source was given.

Days later, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said efforts were being made by US and Arab officials to encourage Saudi Arabia to normalise ties with Tel Aviv.

Saudi Arabia, like the majority of Arab states, has insisted it will not recognise Israel unless a Palestinian state is established.

In the two years since the accords were signed, Israel has shown no sign of relenting its violent attacks on Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories.