Setback? Prospective peace partner bans any ties at all with ‘Zionist entity’

While Israel is hoping to expand the Abraham Accords, hopes were somewhat dashed with Oman’s boycott of any relations, “in person or even virtual,” with the Jewish state.

By World Israel News Staff

Despite reported Israeli optimism that Oman could become the next Arab country to normalize relations with Israel, the Gulf country has voted to criminalize ties with the Jewish state.

As recently as November, a senior Israeli official met with Omani Foreign Minister Sayyid Badr bin Hamad bin Hamood al-Busaidi in a bid to establish ties between the two countries.

Yet on Friday, Oman’s parliament banned relations of any kind with the “Zionist entity.”

Until then, the law banned “interaction with the Zionist entity for private and public figures.”

Yet the proposed amendment would lead to “an expansion of criminalization and an expansion of the boycott of this entity… in person or even virtual.”

Some pundits have said that the announcement was made in order to appease Iran, while others have suggested that the swearing-in of Israel’s new, right-wing government last Thursday has fueled anti-Israel sentiment.

Nir Boms, director of the Program for Regional Cooperation at the Moshe Dayan Center of Tel Aviv University, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that Muscat-Jerusalem relations will continue under the radar and that the vote to criminalize ties “was primarily designed to appease the Iranian regime,” the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported.

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“There is a feeling in intelligence circles that the counter-revolutionary uprising in Iran has passed the point of no return and as a result, the regime in Tehran may try to externalize its domestic problems,” he told JTA.

In 1994, then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin visited Oman, where discussions on issues such as water resources were discussed. The following year, after Rabin’s assassination, then-acting Prime Minister Shimon Peres hosted the Omani foreign minister in Jerusalem.

In 1996, the tow countries signed a trade agreement, but relations were frozen with the outbreak of the Second Intifada in 2000, although clandestine meetings have continued.

Oman has never joined any armed conflict with Israel.