Oman pledges not to normalize with Israel despite opening airspace

(File photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — The Sultanate of Oman has pledged not to begin the normalization process of relations with Israel, according to Israeli media. This comes after the Gulf country opened its airspace to Israeli planes last Thursday. اضافة اعلان

"Oman pledged to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that it will not begin the normalization process with the Israeli entity. The Palestinian Authority agreed not to condemn Oman's permission for Israeli planes to fly in its airspace," Israel’s Channel 12 reported.

Israel’s foreign minister said last Thursday that Oman has decided to allow Israeli planes to fly through its airspace. The announcement was another sign of closer ties between Israel and some Arab countries, according to the Associated Press.

Oman’s Civil Aviation Authority tweeted that it “affirms that the Sultanate’s airspace is open for all carriers that meet the requirements of the Authority for overflying,” without directly mentioning Israel.

‘Historic’In a related context, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted today, "We are expanding the circle of peace by approving Israeli flights over Oman."

He added, "Israel has become a central transit point between Asia and Europe, and we continue to work on expanding the circle of peace." For his part, Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Eli Cohen said he considered the decision "historic for the Israeli economy and the Israeli traveler."

In a live broadcast on his Twitter account, Cohen said that "the decision to open Omani airspace to Israeli planes will greatly reduce the duration of flights from Israel to the east, reduce airfare prices, and allow Israeli companies to compete."

Boycott lawThe sudden decision by Oman comes despite the recent approval by Oman’s lower house of parliament to expand its Israel boycott law.

The Majlis al-Shura, or Consultative Assembly, voted to amend the first clause of its Israel boycott law to include any sports, cultural or economic contact. The amendment also specifically bans in-person or online interaction with Israelis.

Assembly Vice-President Yaaqoub Al-Harethi explained that the amendment would “expand the criminalization and expand the boycott” of Israel, according to the Omani WAF news agency’s Twitter account.

In October 2018, Netanyahu, who was also prime minister at the time, made a surprise visit with his wife to Oman, where they were warmly received by the late Sultan Qaboos of Oman and Omani officials.

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