Top Israeli official meets Omani FM in bid to normalize relations – report

Israel hopes that Oman will open its skies to Israeli flights. 

By World Israel News Staff

A senior Israeli official recently met with Omani Foreign Minister Sayyid Badr bin Hamad bin Hamood al-Busaidi in a bid to establish ties between the two countries, i24NEWS reported on Monday.

The meeting took place on the sidelines of the MEDRC water scarcity forum in Oman, which was attended by Israel’s Foreign Ministry Deputy Director General and Head of Middle East & Peace Process Division, the report said.

According to an Israeli foreign ministry document obtained by the news site, while Oman has expressed interest in normalizing relations with Israel, it does not want to do so on the basis of the U.S.-brokered Abraham Accords which were signed two years ago between Israel, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, and later on with Sudan and Morocco.

While not overtly refuting the idea of normalization, al-Busaidi said last year that his country would “not be the next in line” to sign a normalization agreement with Israel.

The ties would be based on an “economic peace and in line with the guidelines from Saudi Arabia,” the report said, apparently referencing the Gulf kingdom’s reticence to sign its own normalization deal with Israel without a solution to the Palestinian question.

Israel is hoping that Oman will open its skies to flights to and from Israel, which would allow airlines to take advantage of Saudi Arabia’s recent decision to open its airspace to Israel.

Israel has also offered Oman to join the Negev forum and participate in a number of regional projects, especially those benefiting Palestinians, according to the report.

In October of 2018, then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a surprise visit to Oman to meet with the late Sultan Qaboos bin Said, becoming the first Israeli leader to publicly travel to the sultanate since 1996.

Then-Transportation Minister Israel Katz also visited Oman that year to present a plan for the construction of a railway between Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.

In 2020, Netanyahu expressed his sorrow over Sultan Qaboos’ death and lauded him as an “outstanding leader,” and praised him for advancing ties with Israel.