Sultan Qaboos receives Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Sultan Qaboos Al Said has received in Bait Al Barakah Muscat, Oman, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, along with Israeli security & intelligence Ministers.

Sultan Qaboos and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Sultan Qaboos and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

The visit comes in the same week that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also visited Sultan Qaboos in Muscat, with a similar mix of Ministers to Netanyahu.

Sultan Qaboos and President Mahmoud Abbas
Sultan Qaboos and President Mahmoud Abbas

These visits come after a visit earlier in the year by Oman’s Minister for Foreign Affairs to Jerusalem, making a well-publicised visit to Aqsa Mosque and also to Mahmoud Abbas. The visit there would have involved crossing several Israeli security checkpoints, and have allowed at the very least some contact between the Oman visitors and Israeli Foreign Ministry staff.

Oman Minister Yusuf Bin Alawi bin Abdullah visited the Al Aqsa Mosque
Oman Minister Yusuf Bin Alawi bin Abdullah visits the Al Aqsa Mosque

 

This is the third visit into Oman by an Israeli Prime Minister. In 1994, then-Prime Minister of Israel Yitzhak Rabin visited Muscat Oman over Christmas. In 1996 Prime Minister Shimon Peres met Sultan Qaboos in Salalah following which both Oman and Israel opened ‘Trade Missions’ in their respective capitals.
Its possible to imagine that the recent visits are a prelude to Oman facilitating formal meetings between Israel, Palestine and a chosen mediator.

Author: Tony Walsh

Book author including the current Bradt guide to Oman – edition 4