Egypt reopens airspace to Qatar after AlUla Declaration

Egypt reopens airspace to Qatar after AlUla Declaration
An Airbus A350 plane of Qatar Airways from Doha is pictures after it landed. (File/AFP)
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Updated 12 January 2021

Egypt reopens airspace to Qatar after AlUla Declaration

Egypt reopens airspace to Qatar after AlUla Declaration
  • Agreements set to be activated will also allow for goods transport between the two countries

Egypt is reopening its airspace to Qatari flights and allowing the resumption of flights between the two countries, aviation sources and state media said on Tuesday.
The decision follows moves by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt to end a boycott in which they severed diplomatic, trade and travel ties with Qatar in 2017.

The lifting of Egypt's aviation ban allowed Qatari flights to cross Egyptian airspace and national carriers from both countries to submit flight operating schedules for approval, Al-Ahram state newspaper reported.
Agreements set to be activated will also allow for goods transport between the two countries, according to sources from the civil aviation authority and aviation ministry.
Egypt and its Gulf allies imposed the embargo on Qatar over allegations it supports terrorism.
Egypt expressed its support for regional reconciliation at a summit in Saudi Arabia last week but had stopped short of announcing concrete steps to end the boycott.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain have all announced the reopening of their airspace to Qatar.


Israel authorities approve new West Bank settler homes: group

Israel authorities approve new West Bank settler homes: group
Updated 17 January 2021

Israel authorities approve new West Bank settler homes: group

Israel authorities approve new West Bank settler homes: group
  • Over 90% of the homes lay deep inside W.Bank, which Palestinians seek as the heartland of a future independent state
  • Netanyahu directed authorities to approve construction in the occupied territories

JERUSALEM: Israel on Sunday advanced plans for 780 new settler homes in the occupied West Bank, settlement watchdog Peace Now said, adding the move puts Israel “on a collision course” with the incoming US administration.
Right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had last week directed authorities to approve construction of the units in occupied Palestinian territories.
That came less than two weeks before President Donald Trump’s pro-settler administration was due to leave office.
All Jewish settlements in the West Bank are regarded as illegal by much of the international community.
But Trump’s administration, breaking with decades of US policy, declared in 2019 that Washington no longer considered settlements as being in breach of international law.
US President-elect Joe Biden, who will be sworn on Wednesday, has indicated that his administration will restore Washington’s pre-Trump policy of opposing settlement expansion.
Peace Now, an Israeli civil society group that opposes the occupation, said that Israeli planning authorities had approved “plans to build 780 housing units in settlements, most of them deep in the West Bank.”
“Not only will this settlement activity erode the possibility for a conflict-ending resolution with the Palestinians in the long-term, but in the short-term it needlessly sets Israel on a collision course with the incoming Biden administration,” the group said.
A spokesperson for the European Union said the move was “contrary to international law and further undermines the prospects of a viable two-state solution.”
The EU statement called on Israel to “reverse these decisions on settlements and show leadership to rebuild trust and confidence between the parties, which is necessary for an eventual resumption of meaningful Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.”
Beyond the change in Washington, experts say Netanyahu also has domestic political reasons for pushing settlement expansion.
Electioneering is intensifying ahead of Israel’s March 23 poll, in which Netanyahu is expected to face a fierce right-wing challenge from Gideon Saar, a defector from the premier’s Likud party.
Saar, a prominent pro-settler voice, split with Likud late last year to challenge Netanyahu, Israel’s longest serving premier.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu is once again putting his personal political interests over those of the country,” Peace Now said.
Israel has occupied the West Bank since the 1967 Six Day War.
Following years of settlement expansion, there are currently some 450,000 Jews living in the West Bank amid an estimated 2.8 million Palestinians.
Governments worldwide largely see settlements as illegal and an obstacle to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.