'Damage control': Oman to open embassy in Palestine after backlash from Netanyahu visit

'Damage control': Oman to open embassy in Palestine after backlash from Netanyahu visit
Oman, which has recently towed towards a pro-Israel foreign policy, is opening an embassy in Palestine.
2 min read
26 June, 2019
Oman will open an embassy in Palestine [Getty]
The Gulf state of Oman said on Wednesday that it has decided to open an embassy in the Palestinian territories in support of the Palestinian people.

"In continuation of Oman's support for the Palestinian people, the Sultanate of Oman has decided to open a diplomatic mission at the level of embassy in the State of Palestine," the foreign ministry said in a statement on Twitter.

The step coincides with a US-led economic workshop in Bahrain to unveil a Middle East plan which is not expected to recognise an independent Palestinian state.

Oman has over the past year come under fire for its role in Arab normalisation with Israel. Analysts suggest the move is to maintain an image of neutrality while Muscat's relations with Israel grow.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu conducted a surprise visit to Oman last year which was followed by a high-profile tour by senior Israeli ministers to the UAE.

Gulf states have held clandestine talks with Israel for decades, going back to at least the early 1980s.

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.

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

Follow us on Twitter: @The_NewArab