Israel in talks with 'Arab state' for Netanyahu visit

Israel in talks with 'an Arab state' for Netanyahu visit
2 min read
20 November, 2018
Israeli authorities are currently in talks with an 'Arab state' to host Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for an official visit, Israel's state broadcaster reported on Tuesday.
Palestinian officials strongly condemned Oman for hosting Netanyahu [Getty]

Israeli authorities are currently in talks with "an Arab state" to host Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for an official visit, Israel's state broadcaster reported on Tuesday, following his recent controversial trip to Oman.

The Israel Broadcasting Corporation's Arabic-language service announced the development, as Tel Aviv pushes an unprecedented public rapprochement with Gulf states.

"Israel is communicating to organise a visit by Netanyahu to another Arab state that it does not have diplomatic relations with," the report said.

"National Security Council head Meir Ben Shabbat is currently residing secretly in this country, which has not been named, to set up the visit,"

Although it did not mention the countries, the UAE and Bahrain are likely candidates.

"Yesterday afternoon, Netanyahu told members of parliament's foreign affairs and defense committee that he expects what he described as additional surprises regarding relations with some Arab states," it added.

The report comes after Netanyahu made a surprise visit to the Gulf sultanate of Oman last month - the first in more than 20 years by an Israeli premier.

The surprise meeting with Oman's Sultan Qaboos was kept secret until Netanyahu's return home. It took place despite the two nations having no diplomatic ties.

Following Netanyahu's visit, Israeli ministers visited the UAE and Oman.

Israel currently has full diplomatic relations with only Egypt and Jordan, but the trips are the latest sign of growing regional ties between Israel and Arab States.

Israel and some Gulf States - notably Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain - have a shared interest in curbing Iran's influence in the region and cooperate on intelligence gathering.

In the past two years, a series of reports of covert meetings between Israeli and Saudi officials give an impression of a rapprochement between the two states.

Palestinian officials strongly condemned Oman for hosting Netanyahu in a surprise visit, saying it was a betrayal of the Palestinian people who still live under brutal Israeli occupation in Gaza and the West Bank.