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Oman may consider removing boycott of Israel as early as Monday

Could this be the beginning of Oman’s long-anticipated normalization ties with the Jewish state?

Sultan Haitham bin Tariq al-Said gives a speech after being sworn in before the royal family council in Muscat, Oman, Jan. 11, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Sultan Al Hasani//File Photo)

The Shura Council in Oman will meet on Monday to consider changing its current policies toward Israel, according to the WAF news agency in Oman. 

While details are not clear about the meeting and what will specifically be discussed, it is believed that the lower house of the Council of Oman, or the Consultative Assembly, will consider lifting all mandated boycotting of Israeli entities and individuals.

Omani law currently prohibits its citizens from making contact with entities or individuals based in Israel either directly or through mediation, for any purposes.

Israeli media speculated that the parliamentary meeting may be related to Israel’s recent efforts to secure the government’s authorization for Israeli passenger airplanes to fly over Oman, which Oman has avoided until now. As a result, Israeli flights to Asia must take a longer route than would otherwise be necessary.

Saudi Arabia, which currently has no diplomatic ties with Israel, agreed to let Israel use its airspace earlier this year. At the time of the Saudi move, Israeli media speculated that Oman may have hesitated to follow suit due to pressure from its neighbor, Iran, who is in strong opposition to the Jewish state. Subsequent attempts by the United States’ government to persuade Oman were not successful. 

In October 2018, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is returning to office next week, made a surprise visit to Oman, which marked an apparent sign of progress between the two nations. It is believed that [late] then-Sultan Qaboos bin Said agreed to open Omani airspace to Israeli airliners. However, the decision was later walked back by Qaboos’ successor, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq. 

Omani Foreign Minister Sayyid Badr al-Busaidi had said that Oman will only agree to such a move once a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians has been reached.

ALL ARAB NEWS Editor-in-Chief, Joel C. Rosenberg, in September 2020, wrote an article, “Will Oman be the next country to make peace with Israel?”

At the time, the Omani government released a statement in a favor of Bahrain signing the Abraham Accords historic peace agreement with Israel: “The Sultanate welcomes the initiative taken by the sister kingdom of Bahrain, within the framework of its sovereign rights, and the joint tripartite declaration on relations with Israel and hopes that this new strategic direction chosen by some Arab countries will be a practical tributary towards achieving peace, based on ending the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.” 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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