His Majesty the Sultan receives Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu in Oman

Charlene Craig
October 27, 2018

Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife were invited by the sultan to visit after lengthy consultations between the two countries.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made an unpublicised visit to the Gulf state of Oman on Friday and discussed peace initiatives in the Middle East, his office said.

The unannounced meeting in Muscat with Sultan Qaboos represents a major achievement for Netanyahu, who has sought to develop secret relations with Arab states despite the absence of peace talks with Palestinians.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in Oman on Thursday to discuss ways of achieving "peace and stability".

Earlier this year, bin Alawi visited Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque and Netanyahu has on several occasions hinted at warmer ties with Gulf states.

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The comment followed a rare visit by Netanyahu to Oman, the first by an Israeli leader in over two decades, and a sign of warming ties between the Jewish state and the Sunni Arab world.

Oman, which is known for its discreet diplomacy and unaligned foreign policy position, served as the back-channel between Washington and Tehran in the lead-up to the Iran nuclear accord.

Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the president of the Houthi Supreme Revolutionary Committee (SRC), made the remarks in a tweet on Saturday, adding that the real goal of the Israeli premier's trip to Muscat "is to isolate Oman from playing any positive role in the future with its allies and friends".

In October 2000, Oman closed the offices after the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada.

Netanyahu and his wife were joined on the trip by the head of Mossad, Israel's intelligence agency, his foreign ministry director, and other defense officials.

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"You should not underestimate the openness and the thirst in the Arab world today for Israel", he said Thursday.

In 1996, then-prime minister, the late Shimon Peres, visited Oman and Qatar and opened Israel Trade Representations in both Gulf states.

Netanyahu has always been seeking alliances with other Arab states which, like Israel, face an emboldened Iran, stressing that such ties could enable peace with the Palestinians. "It's a boon to peace", Netanyahu added.

"Quite a few of the neighboring countries that are reaching out to Israel and normalizing relations with Israel which is a step towards peace because of innovation".

"They want it for water, they want it for health, they want it for IT, they want it for solar energy, they want it for everything".

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