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Israel’s Shin Bet Security Service to Ban Airlines From Flying to Dubai Due to Disagreement With Emiratis

Israel’s Shin Bet Security Service to Ban Airlines From Flying to Dubai Due to Disagreement With Emiratis

Israel’s internal Shin Bet security service is reportedly planning to ban Israeli airlines from flying to Dubai amidst a disagreement with local officials over security arrangements at Dubai International Airport (DXB).

Axios Middle East Correspondent Barak Ravid quoted a source within Shin Bet who said the agency was concerned it could not guarantee proper security for Israeli airlines flying into and out of Dubai.

“The disagreement is technical and not political,” the source was quoted as saying. “We are considering moving the Israeli airline’s flights from Dubai to Abu-Dhabi.”

Low-cost airline Israir became the first ever Israeli airline to operate a commercial flight to Dubai on December 1, 2020. The flight followed the historic and unexpected normalisation of political relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) earlier in 2020.

Along with Israir, the national flag carrier El Al and Arkia also fly regularly scheduled passenger flights to Dubai.

Israel and the UAE formalised relations after the signing of the Abraham Accords at a ceremony at the White House in Washington DC in September 2020. Several weeks later, an air services agreement had been thrashed out, but security arrangements at DXB have never been agreed.

Israeli airlines are known for stationing their own security officers at international airports, where they carry out their own questioning and security searches of passengers.

El Al’s internal security department provides airport security for all three Israeli airlines at an annual cost of more than US$311 million according to Globes.

Shin Bet confirmed on Saturday that it could bar Israeli airlines from flying to Dubai, saying in a statement: “over the past few months, security disputes have been revealed between the competent bodies in Dubai and the Israeli aviation security system, in a way that does not allow for the responsible enactment of security for Israeli aviation.”

View Comments (3)
  • Shin Bet wanted a special segregated screening area at DXB using Israeli-picked security screeners and DXB said they couldn’t provide it on Israeli government terms?

    Shin Bet wanted a special segregated screening area at DXB using Israeli-picked security screeners and permission to have its personnel armed at the airport and Dubai said they wouldn’t allow it on Israeli government terms?

    Are those the kind of “technical” disagreements with Dubai that they are hoping don’t come up with Abu Dhabi?

      • Let’s not pre-suppose that essentially it’s something that all the other countries with service by Israeli carriers have agreed to allow. It could well be something that Shin Bet demanded for service from/to the UAE but not from all the other countries with service by Israeli carriers. That this “something” — if it’s even the same “something” — may have been cleared by Abu Dhabi but not by Dubai is well within the realm of the possible given UAE’s federal nature, but I’m not sure at this point if that’s even the pivot that meant AUH is clear but DXB is not.

        It would be interesting to know what the issue was now but not earlier with service from/to DXB. Maybe Shin Bet just feel that (compared to DXB) AUH is better protected against projectile and even less-sophisticated drone-using attacks coming from Yemeni elements which were targeted by UAE military forces and other UAE-backed military and mercenary elements during Yemen’s latest civil war.

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