Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with Sultan of Oman Sayyid Qaboos bin Said Al Said R) in Muscat, Oman on October 26, 2018. (Photo by ISRAELI PRIME MINISTRY OFFICE / HANDOUT/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Big Week for Breaking Middle Eastern Taboos…

Critics of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu rile when the PM invokes his personal mantra – extolling his success in reversing the nation’s sense of isolation both in the region and beyond. Yet, for a world leader who doesn’t even have his own airplane, Netanyahu has a formidable accumulation of frequent flyer miles and perhaps refrigerator magnets as well. Adding to his first-visits-by-an-Israeli-prime minister-to-African-nations, Netanyahu this week turned up in the Arab nation of Oman where even his wife’s presence was out in the open. It was apparently no secret that the Sultan has some inklings of an answer to the frequently-asked question, “Can there be a peace process between Israel and the Palestinians since Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rescinded President Trump’s kosher certificate?” The Sultan of Oman, known to be a strong advocate of personal mediation, not only hosted Abbas a short time ago, but unlike Monsieur Macron, boasts the bona fides and personal respect by the parties that is indispensable for a Mideast peacemaker. Remember, too, that one of the key strategic and tactical elements of President Trump’s hunt for the deal of the century is a regional embrace of an understanding with the Jewish state that becomes the platform from which a comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian agreement is pre-sold to the Palestinians’ donors. The rest will be history. While it’s too soon to pass around plates of Medjool dates and cups of Kiddush wine, note, too, the Israeli prime minister’s air route to Oman included the use of Saudi air space while the Israeli minister for Sport and Culture was visiting Abu Dhabi where the Israeli national anthem was played in honor of its gold medal athletes. The Chinese vice-president, another visitor to Jerusalem last week, no doubt took note of interesting times.

 

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