January 28, 2021
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First Direct Commercial Flight From Israel Lands In Bahrain

According to reports, Israir Airlines Airbus A320 landed in Bahrain International Airport today. However, Israeli and Bahraini authorities have refused to comment on the event.

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First Direct Commercial Flight From Israel Lands In Bahrain
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, President Donald Trump, Bahrain Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan.
AP Photo
First Direct Commercial Flight From Israel Lands In Bahrain

The first known direct commercial flight from Israel to Bahrain landed in the island kingdom, just a week after the two countries signed a deal to normalise relations. Israir Airlines Airbus A320 landed at Bahrain International Airport after a three-hour flight from Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion International Airport. There was no immediate acknowledgement of the flight by the Israeli government, though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday spoke to Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa over telephone. Israel's Foreign Ministry declined to comment. Bahrain's state-run media did not immediately acknowledge the flight either nor have Bahraini officials responded to requests for comment. The US Embassy in Manama similarly did not respond to a request for comment.

The flight took-off without ceremony, in sharp contrast to the first El Al flight from Israel to the United Arab Emirates last month, which carried US and Israeli officials, including President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, as well as media persons.

In Bahrain, civil society groups have criticised the move to normalize relations with Israel, saying that recognition should come only after Palestinians obtain their own independent state. Bahrain and the UAE signed normalization agreements on September 15 with Israel at the White House, as part of a US diplomatic push as Trump seeks re-election.

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