Netanyahu says peace deals with Arab states ‘changing the map’ of the Middle East

Netanyahu says peace deals with Arab states ‘changing the map’ of the Middle East

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday that a trio of normalization accords with Arab states offered an end to Israel’s former geographic isolation, with shorter and cheaper flights.

“We are changing the map of the Middle East,” he told a televised press conference in Hebrew, pointing to a whiteboard with diagrams of flight corridors.

Air travel over Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates would save passengers heading for India and other Asian destinations “hours and a lot of money of course,” he said.

Israel struck landmark agreements last month with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, and on Friday, agreed with Sudan to normalize relations in a US-brokered deal.

“There will be more countries,” Netanyahu said.

Saudi Arabia still has no formal ties with Israel, but now allows flights in its air space.

The Sudan rapprochement, Netanyahu said, would open up benefits for Israelis crossing the Atlantic.

“We now fly westward, over Sudan, according to agreements we made even before we announced normalization, (and) over Chad, with which we also established relations, to Brazil and South America,” he said.

“Israel was completely isolated…Israel is now connecting to the whole world,” he added.

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