— — Natunyahu secret visit with muhammad bin salman

Prime  minister benjamin netanyahu has made a  secret visit  to saudi arabia ,netanyahu met the crown prince  mohammed bin salman  and the u.s secretary of state mike  pompeo who himself was in israel only  last week  as follows recent washington brokered  normalization deals between  israel ,the uae and Bahrain.

  No denial and no official confirmation  but the lack of denial is pretty telling  especially given  the fact that this isn’t just one report  it has been pretty widely sourced by a  number of israeli political  journalists and indeed the prime  minister’s  own social media comment advisor  put out a tweet saying that while  netanyahu’s  coalition partner was playing politics  the prime minister was making peace now  no explicit confirmation of this  particular  visit or potential talks with muhammad  bin salman  in that tweet but the timing was  relatively significant it all came  from initial reports that a business jet  that had been used by the prime minister  in the past that has leased from  an israeli businessman for such  high-level trips   was spotted making a journey from  israel from telabib airport  at  around 5 p.m local time on sunday  it spent some five hours  at this  red sea resort in saudi arabia before  coming back at the same time there was  supposed to be a coronavirus cabinet  meeting  carried out in the israeli government  that was postponed for  reasons that were said to be about a  lack of preparation on a  digital mitigation campaign but that  is now being reported as having been a  cover for what really took place  which is according to these reports that  the prime minister had gone to meet both  secretary of state pompeo u.s secretary  of state and muhammad bin salman the  crown prince  in saudi territory now it’s very rare  that this would be  tactically well perhaps saying tacitly  acknowledges a bit too far but certainly  not denied  and certainly apparently reported pretty  widely  does it mean full normalization with  saudi is on the cards  presumably not yet it was just two days  ago that the saudi foreign minister was  saying that  there would have to be a palestinian  state first something that  saudi arabia still ascribes to despite  the fact that the uae bahrain  and sudan have now moved away from that  position we put this to a couple of  senior palestinian officials one said  that  they pointed to that remark from the  foreign minister but said at the same  time there are no guarantees  and others said that they couldn’t  comment on it without official  confirmation but said if it had taken  place  this meeting then it would be  heartbreaking  when we look at it in the context harry  of the previous deals as you say the uae  and bahrain already now israel and the  uae we know were already had a  relationship behind the scenes as it  were is there any feeling that that  exists with saudi arabia  as well and that that can contribute to  any further normalization .  very much so the the israelis and the  saudis have been having   clandestine contacts for many years  and so as i say i think the difference  about this one  is how quickly it has come to light and  how little effort appears to be  underway to try to conceal it in  retrospect  or even you know certainly not deny  that it took place  it’s also in the context of what we  still presume to be the last few weeks  of the trump administration at a time  when both  the secretary of state mike pompeo has  been going around  various u.s allies  trying to do what he can in the last few  weeks  specifically in terms of israel  presumably to try to circumscribe  the room for action for an incoming baid  administration he did that in terms of  declaring the anti-occupation movement   as anti-semitic as far as the united  states was concerned also saying that  all  settlement-made goods would be declared  as israeli  as far as the u.s market is concerned  those are both things that biden would  have to  explicitly unpick and could be difficult  for him to do so the question is  there something similar brewing with  saudi arabia  is this about what netanyahu wants to do  to try to  circumscribe u.s action versus iran  certainly he’s sent a very public  message to joe biden saying that going  back to the 2015 iran nuclear deal  would be a mistake so i think it’s  unlikely  that we’re going to see full  normalization between saudi saudi arabia  and israel  before trump leaves office but it  certainly can be seen in  in terms of those wider efforts to try  to shore up what four years of trump  has meant in terms of foreign policy

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