Israel’s Netanyahu postpones Gulf visit amid closing of the skies


ISRAELI Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has postponed a historic trip to two Gulf states with which it normalized ties months ago.

Netanyahu proposed the trip as the Mediterranean country struggles to curb the spread of aggressive COVID-19 variants.

“In spite of the importance of the trip to United Arab Emirates capital, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to postpone the visit at this stage due to the closing of the skies,” a statement from his office said on Thursday.

“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,” it added.

The trip, postponed for the third time, had been planned for next week.

Israel’s third coronavirus lockdown has been the worst in terms of infections and casualties since the virus reached the country one year ago, due in part to an especially contagious and aggressive virus variant that originated in Britain.

Netanyahu’s cabinet was due to debate another extension of the lockdown on Thursday.

His right-wing Likud party and the centrist Blue and White Alliance were at loggerheads over how much longer the lockdown can be extended, with the Israeli public showing signs of fatigue and less and less willingness to abide by the restrictions.

Nearly 5,000 Israelis have died of COVID-19, many of them during the past month. (DPA/NAN)


– Feb 04, 2021 @ 11:19 GMT

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