Published: Sat, October 27, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

Israel's Netanyahu pays historic surprise visit to Oman

Israel's Netanyahu pays historic surprise visit to Oman

Oman is an Arab state with which Israel has no diplomatic ties.

A joint statement said that "ways to advance the peace process in the Middle East and matters of mutual interest" were discussed.

"My wife and I were invited to visit by the ruler of Oman, Sultan Qaboos bin Sa'id, after prolonged contacts between the two countries".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sultan Qaboos of Oman have met in Muscat, marking a major elevation in ties between the discreet Gulf state and Israel.

"We never questioned the wisdom of Oman's Sultan Qaboos to contribute to Israel-Palestine issue and we wish him well in his effort", Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed said.

"Second, Donald Trump talks about the deal of the century, or the ultimate deal, and when he talks about it - he means there will be new partners", Eldar added, referring to the U.S. president's long-awaited peace plan.

Netanyahu was accompanied by his wife Sara and his delegation included Mossad intelligence chief Yossi Cohen and National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat.

Israel and the Palestinians would then be left to "negotiate" over the status of Israel's illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, with Trump likely to back Netanyahu to the hilt, according to analysts.

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However, Netanyahu and senior officials have in recent months boasted of secret ties with Arab states, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Oman has a foreign policy of non-interference and has played a mediating role in a region crisscrossed by rivalries and conflicts.

Earlier this week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also visited the Persian Gulf Arab state for three days.

The official also said Israel could use Oman as a backchannel to both Iran and Syria.

Abbas paid his visit to Oman on October 21-23, and called it "successfull on all levels" in an interview to Palestinian TV.

Following a surprise visit on Friday by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Oman, the Gulf sultanate's foreign minister said Saturday that Israel should be accepted in the region, and offered that Oman would work to assist in Israel-Palestinian peace talks.

In another sign of warming ties between Israel and Arab states, Israel's judo team is set for the first time to participate at an global competition in the UAE under their national flag.

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