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Netanyahu’s visit to Oman

Oct 31,2018 - Last updated at Oct 31,2018

The surprise visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the Sultanate of Oman last week and the cordial red-carpet treatment which he, his wife and an accompanying official delegation received, has left many stunned in the Arab world. The Palestinians were particularly stung by such an implausible step.

Oman is an independent state, whose respected leaders are known for their wisdom and solemn and responsible decisions. As such, the Arab Sultanate has every right to conduct its foreign policy independently as any other sovereign state would do. 

Except that the situation with respect to this unusual development is somehow different.

In this case, the guest, who was very warmly received in a prominent Arab country, happens to be the leader of an aggressor and an outlaw state.

He leads a racist, extremist and ultra right-wing government of a country that illegally occupies the lands of other Arab countries, in addition to all of Palestine, for the last seven decades, in flagrant violation of international law and dozens of UN resolutions. Netanyahu is internationally known to be pursuing a belligerent Zionist policy that aims at colonising all of Palestine, and therefore he has been the main obstacle in the face of many peace plans for ending the Arab-Israeli conflict, even when on the best terms for Israel, as was the case with the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.

The guest in question runs an administration whose policies are mainly and primarily responsible for the continued instability in the Middle East. Netanyahu’s government, as well as its predecessors, has continued a deadly siege on 2 million Palestinians in Gaza, reducing their lives to unprecedented misery. Routinely and without any plausible reasons, Israeli forces attack, at will, targets in Gaza and in Syria without any kind of accountability. This is in addition to the devastating wars Israel over the years has waged on Lebanon and Gaza, inflicting massive damage and a huge loss of innocent life.  

Israel’s hand can easily be seen in all the region’s wars of the last five decades. Israel’s hand can also be seen in the unusual rise of extremist trends, terrorist groups, civil wars and conspiracies which have been feeding the worst kind of instability and chaos. Furthermore, by constantly plotting to initiate an American-led war against Iran, and dragging Arab involvement into it, Israel strives to plunge the region in its entirety into eternal conflict and crippling instability. 

This is the Israel for which its current leader is receiving a red carpet reception in an Arab country known for its principled and responsible decisions when it comes to the conduct of states that abide by the rule of law and the legitimate principles of orderly international behaviour.

The recent statement of Omani Foreign Minister Yousuf Bin Alawi Bin Abdullah declaring that Israel is a state that exists in the region and, therefore, should be treated like all others is not exactly accurate. Israel does exist, but it does not deserve to be treated in the same manner as other normal law-abiding states do, until it ends its aggression, occupation, siege, oppression and violation of international law.

Two neighbouring Arab states which lost territory to Israel in the 1967 war, Egypt and Jordan, in addition to the Palestine Liberation Organisation have recognised Israel and entered into official agreements with it, although under totally different circumstances. 

But that was hoped, indeed meant, to be part of a comprehensive, a just and a lasting Arab-Israeli peace, which Israeli behaviour and the continued colonisation of occupied Palestinian since — the relentless construction of illegal settlements — has rendered impossible. 

The 2002 Arab Peace Initiative had offered Israel recognition and normal relations by all Arab and Muslim states but Israel rejected that offer as it did with many other offers, preferring instead to continue the occupation, to pursue its colonisation scheme and to create irreversible realities on the ground to prevent the rise of any future Palestine state. That is why Israel does not deserve to be rewarded the way we are grievously witnessing.

I should also add that Oman is an important Arab League member state, supposed to be bound by the League’s statutes regarding common Arab interests. In addition, the question of Palestine has been handled from the early beginnings, as an Arab cause. The loss of Palestine to the Zionists was seen as an Arab loss of a precious part of the Arab world. Officially, the commitment of the Arab League and its member states towards this historic conflict remains the same, not realistically though.

Unfortunately, some Arab countries have been seeking clandestine relations with Israel for no known reasons. Using common enemy Iran as justification is neither real nor is it convincing. The trend has seriously undermined the Arab case against Israel’s aggression, Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights and continued occupation of Arab lands. It has also dampened the positions of many other world powers which have stood by the Palestinian legitimate national rights as defined by international law. But worse, such ill-advised Arab submission has been feeding Israel’s intransigence and strengthening Israel’s argument against the Arabs and the Palestinians.

Netanyahu is not the first Israeli leader to boast about Israel’s existing relations with many Arab countries — countries he claims do not have the courage to openly admit. Following his recent visit to Oman, he declared similar visits to other Arab capitals soon.

If such Arab countries have chosen to abandon their commitment to one of the most significant Arab-Palestinian causes in history, for whatever reason, they may still have to stand by the side of what is right and lawful rather than espouse an outlaw state whose long term ambition may not spare those very same Arab countries.

It is a very sad and depressing situation to find the Arab nation so divided, its massive wealth so wastefully, purposelessly and chaotically squandered at a time when such division and such waste puts every Arab state at ascertained existential risk.

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