Netanyahu's Secret Trip to Oman

Sultan of Oman receives Israel PM 'after prolonged contacts'

Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs, had said in his speech before the UN General Assembly on September 29, 2018 that the current conditions, despite their difficulty and despite the halt of dialogue, have become suitable for founding an environment for positive discussions between the Palestinian and Israeli sides towards a comprehensive settlement based on the two-states solution.

The Israeli crackdown was taking place at the same Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made an unannounced visit to Oman.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also paid a three-day visit to Oman earlier this week.

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.

"Israel is a state present in the region, and we all understand this", bin Alawi said.

In the statement, Netanyahu's office called the visit "a significant step in implementing" his policy of "deepening relations with the states of the region while leveraging Israel's advantages in security, technology and economic matters".

"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.

But "if you open up to the Arab world and you normalise relations with them, it will open the door for an eventual reconciliation and peace with the Palestinians", he said.

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Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), like Israel, view Iran as a regional threat and previously lobbied the U.S. to withdraw from a multinational nuclear deal with Tehran.

Trump's Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt welcomed the "warming ties and growing cooperation between our regional friends" in a tweet on Friday. "Looking forward to seeing more meetings like this!", Greenblatt said.

"Israel benefits by having a direct link with a member of Arab League, and the Palestinians are benefiting from having the help of Oman reaching out to Israelis without directly conceding anything".

"Netanyahu and the Sultan talked about "ways to advance the peace process in the Middle East and discussed a number of issues of mutual interest for peace and stability in the Middle East", the PMO said".

In 1996, the late Shimon Peres went to Oman and Qatar when he was prime minister and opened Israel trade representative offices in both Gulf countries. The Israeli office in Muscat closed in 2000 in the wake of the Second Intifada, as public opinion was turning against Israel, but the government quietly encouraged Israeli diplomats to stick around as long as the ongoing engagement between the two countries stayed secret.

"You should not underestimate the openness and the thirst in the Arab world today for Israel", the Israeli prime minister said on Thursday. "And the reason, the first reason before anything else, is that we're there in innovation".

The Iranian spokesman said U.S. President Donald Trump has been piling pressures on Islamic states to normalize ties with Israel.

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