Netanyahu Flight Gets Sudan's Nod for Unprecedented Route

(Bloomberg) -- Is Sudan going to be the next Muslim-majority nation to normalize ties with Israel?

In an unprecedented move, Khartoum gave Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the green light to fly over South Sudan on his return flight from Chad, where he and President Idriss Deby signed an agreement to renew diplomatic relations, Israeli media reported.

Netanyahu Flight Gets Sudan's Nod for Unprecedented Route

Although that’s not quite the same as allowing an Israeli airplane to fly over Sudan itself, it was the first time Khartoum has allowed an Israeli flight to cross South Sudan, whose airspace it manages while South Sudan sets up an air traffic management system. Israel and South Sudan have diplomatic ties.

An Israeli government spokesman wouldn’t comment on the route.

Netanyahu has been on a campaign to normalize relations with Arab and Muslim-majority states, and on his Chad trip, he said there would be more news and more countries to come.

Shared concerns about Iran and Islamist terrorism, together with the lure of Israeli technology and weaponry, have made once-hostile Arab and Muslim countries more amenable to ties with Israel even before a peace agreement is reached with the Palestinians. Israel also offers a bridge to Washington.

Israeli officials in the past identified Sudan as a conduit for Iranian weapons bound for Israel’s enemies, but Khartoum’s relations with Tehran have since cooled.

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