by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – Dashing hopes that Oman will become the next Arab state to normalize relations with Israel, the Omani parliament on Friday went so far as to criminalize relations or interactions with “the Zionist entity,” the Times of Israel (TOI) reports.
Oman has historically held a moderate stance toward Israel: the Middle Eastern country never went to war against Israel and has actually had an unofficial trading agreement with the Jewish state since the 2000s, TOI noted. Moreover, Sultan Qaboos, Oman’s longest-reigning ruler, welcomed no fewer than three Israeli prime ministers to his country, with Benjamin Netanyahu being the last in 2018, TOI said.
Given Oman’s background, many had hoped the Omanis would follow Morocco, Bahrain, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates in signing the Abraham Accords and officially normalize diplomatic relations with Israel.
However, Qaboos died without heirs in 2020, and was succeeded by his cousin Haitham Bin Tariq, TOI reports. Since his inauguration, Bin Tariq has notably leaned toward cultivating relations with Iran’s virulently and violently anti-Israel Islamic regime rather than progress toward official relations with Israel, TOI reports.
Following the vote to criminalize relations with Israel, Yaqoub Al-Harithi, vice president of the Omani parliament, told the national assembly: “The brothers, Your Excellencies, looked at the development taking place, whether it was technical, cultural, economic or sports, and proposed additional amendments that include severing any economic, sports or cultural relations and prohibiting dealing in any way or means, whether it was a real meeting, an electronic meeting or something else.”
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