First Egypt-Israel flight lands in Lod

The Egypt Air flight touched down at Ben Gurion International Airport

AFP/ JACK GUEZ  -   Israeli airlines, Israir, El Al and Arkia will serve several Moroccan cities, including Marrakech, from 25 July 2021.

Not even a month has passed for ten years without official contact at the highest level between Tel Aviv and Cairo. The 13 September meeting between Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was the first meeting in a decade with the Gaza conflict as the main issue on the table. The progress of talks on various issues has led to a progressive rapprochement between the two countries, which is now materialising with the first flight between Israel and Egypt.

Starting this October, Egypt Air aircraft will fly between the two countries four times a week. They will all be non-stop commercial flights and will range in price from 4,500 to 4,900 Egyptian pounds - from just under 250 to around 270 euros. Since the 1980s the only flights between the two countries have been operated by Air Sinai, whose parent company is Egypt Air itself, and did not use any kind of flag on its planes, as reported by the Egyptian media "Al Ahram".

Hostilities between the two countries had led to the removal of the insignia from all aircraft and, in addition, flights had been restricted, but are now active again. The aircraft will now be able to carry the airline's markings, yet another sign of what Israel's prime minister described just over a fortnight ago as a meeting in which the two leaders "laid the groundwork for deep ties to move forward", which, for the moment, Israelis and Egyptians appear to be doing.

The arrival of the flight from the Egyptian capital is "an important and welcome sign of the strengthening of ties between the two countries, especially economic ties", the Israeli embassy in Cairo announced on its Twitter account. Strengthening financial ties with all countries in the region is one of the priority objectives of the country led by Naftali Bennett, without neglecting the tension surrounding the Gaza Strip. In recent weeks there have been new clashes between the Islamic militia Hamas and the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF).

The current situation in Israel is very hopeful for its population. One year after the signing of the Abraham Accords, the results are very positive for Tel Aviv. Last week, Gulf Air operated the first direct flight between Bahrain and Israel in conjunction with the opening of the Israeli embassy on Bahraini soil. This is just the first step in what both countries hope will be a great long-term bilateral relationship that can lay the foundations for the "long-awaited lasting peace in the Middle East", as Yair Lapid, Israel's foreign minister, and King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa said.

Yair Lapid himself made a somewhat controversial statement to a section of the Israeli population, saying that he "believes that this is the right solution (to create two states) for Israelis and Palestinians. Not everyone in the (Israeli) government thinks so, but right now it is unfortunately not feasible'. For the moment, as Lapid said, such a solution does not seem feasible, although the situation for a significant section of the Palestinian population is borderline. After the climax in May and the 250 lives that the conflict claimed in just 11 days, a solution should be a priority, but the demands of both sides leave no room for peace in Gaza.