The El Al, Israel’s national airline plane carrying Israeli Prime Minister to Australia, from Singapore, took an unusual detour, in a bid to avoid the Indonesian airspace, deliberately.
The Guardian newspaper confirmed this unusual route with Netanyahu’s delegation, costing the PM several hours to his journey to Sydney, a journey that should take 7 hours.
The Washington Post however said the absence of formal diplomatic relations between Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim population nation on earth, and Israel the only Jewish state on the planet, was the cause of this detour.
It was also motivated due to the conflict Israel has over the Palestinians.
However, though Israeli passport holders are refused entry to a number of Muslim-majority nations, except in special circumstances, Israeli citizens are permitted access to Indonesia on tourist visas.
Did Netanyahu fear a reaction from the Indonesians if the El Al flew over its airspace?
No, the real reason behind the strange route of Netanyahu’s plane shows another effect of Israel’s diplomatic situation: Indonesia doesn’t grant El Al access to its national airspace, necessitating a circuitous route around it.
On his way to Singapore, the Israeli PM aircraft took another unusual route, which may have been designed to avoid the airspace of Saudi Arabia or another nation.
Closer relationship between Indonesia and Israel, started in 2012, are now on hold.
However, when Netanyahu called upon Indonesia to normalize diplomatic relations last year, the Indonesian government said it would do so only when the Palestinians are granted an independent state, wrote The Washington Post.