Benjamin Netanyahu, whose comments came Saturday, had called off a visit to the Emirates on Thursday over a spat with Jordan, which had temporarily closed its airspace to the Israeli prime minister’s flight.
But rather than bypass Jordanian airspace and take a more southerly route across Saudi skies, Netanyahu told Israel’s Channel 13 “there were also problems a week ago in the skies of Saudi Arabia,” referring to recent missile attacks by Yemeni army and Ansarullah movement.
Netanyahu did not elaborate, nor did he say his plane was targeted by the Yemenis, according to AP.
Netanyahu was slated to make the first official visit to the United Arab Emirates, half a year after Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi established formal relations. He had hoped to use the audience with the UAE’s crown prince to boost his reelection campaign less than two weeks before Israel’s March 23 parliamentary elections.
His office said it had difficulties coordinating the flight over Jordanian airspace after Jordan’s crown prince canceled a visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem al-Quds, a sensitive holy site under Jordanian custodianship, due to disagreements over security arrangements.
Yemeni army and Popular Committees have launched many missile attacks on Saudi Arabia in retaliation for the Saudi-led coalition’s continued aggression against Yemen.
Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched the war on Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, back to power and crushing the popular Ansarullah movement.
The Yemeni armed forces and allied popular groups have gone from strength to strength against the Saudi-led invaders, and successfully defended Yemen against the aggression, leaving Riyadh and its allies bogged down in the country.