by: Ilse Strauss
Tuesday, 27 October 2020 | In less than two months the question dominating the discourse in the Middle East has changed from: “Will Israel’s Arab neighbors ever agree to peace with the Jewish state?” to “Who’s next in line for peace with Israel?”
According to Israel’s Channel 12 news, the answer is Oman.
Citing government sources, the report claimed Muscat is set to follow in the footsteps of Abu Dhabi, Manama and Khartoum to become the fourth Arab nation to normalize relations with Israel over the course of a few weeks.
According to the sources, Jerusalem and Washington are making every effort to ensure that Oman joins the peace fold before the US heads to the polls for the presidential election on November 3. They conceded, however, that Muscat would likely wait for the election results before making any big decisions.
Although Israel and the Gulf Sultanate of Oman have no formal ties, the Jewish and Arab states have increased their contact in recent years and have enjoyed some level of covert relations for some time. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also visited Oman in 2018, making him the first Israeli leader to take the trip in more than 20 years. The visit was widely perceived as a harbinger of warming relations.
Oman isn’t Israel’s only prospective peace partner. According to the Channel 12 report, Mossad (Israeli intelligence agency) Chief Yossi Cohen believes Saudi Arabia may very well be the fifth Arab country to formalize relations with their Jewish neighbors. However, Riyadh is in no hurry to make the move and will only make a final decision after the US election.
Ever since Israel and the UAE announced the normalization of ties on August 13, both Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump have vowed that more partners for peace are in the pipeline. True to their word, Bahrain and then Sudan followed.
According to President Trump, the blitz of peace deals is far from over. “We have at least five that want to come in,” he told reporters during a conference call with Israeli and Sudanese leaders to announce the latest normalization deal on Friday.
“We expect Saudi Arabia will be one of those countries,” President Trump added.
While Saudi leaders have expressed their support for their Arab brethren normalizing ties with Israel, the powers-that-be in Riyadh have made it clear that a peace deal with the Jewish state is dependent on the Palestinians having their own, independent state.
While nothing is written in stone yet and much seems to hinge on the outcome of the US elections, the eyes of every role-player in the Middle East is fixed on November 3.
Posted on October 27, 2020
Source: (Bridges for Peace, October 27, 2020)
Photo Credit: DoD photo by Air Force Master Sgt. Angelita M. Lawrence/flickr.com
Photo License: flickr.com
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