Netanyahu secretly meets crown prince in Saudi Arabia

The US Secretary of State also attends the meeting in a city on the Red Sea

The long tradition of diplomatic meetings in the shadow of the Middle East is today an open secret. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled in absolute stealth on Sunday night to Saudi Arabia to meet with Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salmán and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is on a tour of the Middle East. But the state radio, the Army and the main media in Israel They reported on Monday the reserved diplomatic meeting while the Prime Minister’s Office maintained an ambiguous silence. So far, the content of the conclave has not transcended.

Accompanied by the director of the Mosad (foreign intelligence service) and without warning either the Minister of Defense, Benny Gantz, or the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gabi Ashkenazi (his centrist coalition government allies), Netanyahu flew to the Saudi city of Neom, on the Red Sea coast, in a private plane belonging to businessman Udi Angel.

The route of the device from Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport, from where it took off at around 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, was tracked by the page Flightradar 24 flight tracking website along the Dead Sea, the Lower Jordan Valley and the Gulf of Aqaba. The Gulfstream 4 SP private jet, which the prime minister had already used to visit Vladimir Putin in Moscow, returned to Israel after midnight after being parked in Neom for more than two hours.

Only Topaz Luz, a young adviser for Netanyahu’s social networks, partially broke the law of silence by tweeting at dawn: “Gantz is a politician (in relation to the opening of an investigation for alleged corruption on the head of the Government) while Netanyahu makes peace. ” The head of US diplomacy also quietly tweeted on Sunday: “Constructive visit to Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salmán in Neom.”

Pompeo, who visited Israel last week, where he sparked controversy over his presence in the occupied territories of the West Bank and the Golan Heights, tries to attract Saudi Arabia to the group of Gulf countries that, like United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, have normalized their diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.

Prince Bin Salmán is in favor of following in the footsteps of these neighboring nations, but his father, King Salmán, prefers to exercise caution. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud warned on Saturday that his country will not establish relations with Israel until there is “a comprehensive peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians,” according to the doctrine of the Arab Peace Initiative. sponsored by Saudi Arabia in 2002 and endorsed by the Arab League.

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