Amid the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and Jewish Passover festival weeks away, Israeli officials initiatives being examined by Jerusalem is enabling Palestinians from the West Bank to fly directly from the Ramon Airport, near the southern Israeli city of Eilat, to Saudi Arabia for the Muslim Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca.

A recent meeting attended by a long list of Israeli security officials, including representatives of Israel’s national Security Council, the Israeli military (IDF), transportation ministry and Israel’s Airports Authority, examined the possibility of operating flights for Palestinians out of Israel’s Ramon airport directly to Saudi Arabia. Such a decision would of course hinge on the approval and cooperation of the Saudi government.

While the decision to move ahead with the initiative is ultimately in the hands of the Israeli government, the Israeli officials who attended the meeting concluded that the option to operate such flights is realizable and safe to execute.

The meeting examined an alternative to the direct flights, principally the option of indirect flights that would reach Saudi via Turkey’s Istanbul. But the option of direct flights carries a strategic importance in advancing future normalization between Jerusalem and Riyadh, as well as other countries in the region.

The annual Islamic pilgrimage of Hajj will commence this year on June 25 and will continue until June 30.