Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secretly met Saudi Arabia’s crown prince in the kingdom on Sunday, according to three Saudi government advisers, in their first known meeting and amid a US push to normalise ties between the longtime foes.
An Israeli government minister has confirmed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the Saudi crown prince and US secretary of state. But Saudi officials have strongly denied reports that a meeting took place.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secretly visited Saudi Arabia on Sunday for talks with senior officials, a government minister has confirmed.
Education Minister Yoav Gallant called the visit “an amazing achievement” after Israeli media reported that Netanyahu had met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Neom, where the crown prince was meeting with Pompeo.
“The very fact the meeting happened, and was outed publicly, even if half-officially right now, is a matter of great importance,” Gallant, a member of the prime minister’s Cabinet, said in an interview with Israeli army radio on Monday.
Earlier, Avi Scharf of Israel’s Haaretz newspaper published aviation tracking data showing that a business jet had made a brief trip from Tel Aviv to Neom, on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast.
MBS In Favor of Normalizing Ties With Israel
“From Netanyahu’s perspective, to be able to show that the major Arab powers no longer have a problem with the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory is something that vindicates his strategy,”
King Salman is understood to be in favour of sticking to the Arab League’s long-standing position that they would only recognise Israel only the Palestinians have an independent state, while the crown prince is more open to warmer relations with the Jewish state.
Flight Path Shows Israeli PM Was In Saudi Arabia
A Gulfstream IV private jet took off just after 1740 GMT from Ben-Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv, according to data from website FlightRadar24.com.
The flight traveled south along the eastern edge of the Sinai Peninsula before turning toward Neom and landing just after 1830 GMT, according to the data. The flight took off from Neom at around 2150 GMT and followed the same route back to Tel Aviv.
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