Report: Arab states offer concessions for Jewish building freeze

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff

Several Arab states in North Africa and the Persian Gulf region have offered Israel overflight rights in return for a complete halt to Jewish construction in Judea, Samaria and on the eastern side of Jerusalem, according to an unnamed US official to spoke to the Washington Times.

The official told the newspaper that the various Arab states had presented the proposal, which also included lifting a travel ban against Israeli citizens, to US Middle East envoy George Mitchell. The offer was expected to be passed on to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he met with US President Barack Obama and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in New York on Tuesday.

While Israel is unlikely to accept such an offer unless these states make it publicly, it was seen as a tempting exchange by Israeli commentators, both from a political and an economic standpoint. Currently, Israeli airliners must take long detours when flying to the Far East or Australia, as they cannot fly over the rest of the Middle East.

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