A Kuwaiti business delegation has reportedly paid a visit to the Israeli-occupied territories, amid moves by several monarchical regimes in the Persian Gulf region to better their relations with Tel Aviv following years of clandestine contacts.
Palestinian Arabic-language Safa news agency, citing a report published by Israel’s Kan public broadcaster, reported on Friday that the Kuwaiti businessmen arrived in Tel Aviv last week, and spent several days in the occupied lands.
The report added that the merchants had been granted visa issued by the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Kuwaiti nationals visited the Baha’i House of Worship and Mahmood Mosque in Haifa, the University of Haifa, the al-Aqsa Mosque as well as the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem al-Quds.
Earlier this week, the Israeli Foreign Ministry has re-launched a virtual embassy in a bid to promote dialogue with Persian Gulf Arab nations.
“We are pleased to announce the re-launch of ‘Israel in the [Persian] Gulf’ page which aims to promote dialogue between Israel and the [Persian] Gulf nations.
“We hope this virtual embassy will contribute to deepen understanding between the peoples of the [Persian] Gulf and the people of Israel in various fields,” the ministry said in a post published on Twitter.
The “Israel in the [Persian] Gulf” Twitter page was first launched in mid-2013 but stopped operation after just one year.
Netanyahu in late November visited Oman, where he met Sultan Sayyid Qaboos bin Said Al Said at the Bait al-Barakah Royal Palace in the coastal city of Seeb near the capital Muscat.
Israel’s English-language daily newspaper The Jerusalem Post reported that the two men had discussed ways to advance the so-called Middle East peace process as well as mattes of mutual interest with regard to the region’s stability.
Netanyahu was accompanied by senior officials, including the head of the Mossad spy agency and his national security adviser.
Netanyahu’s unpublicized visit to Oman came on the same day that Israeli Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev traveled to the United Arab Emirates to accompany Israel’s judo team at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam 2018.
Regev arrived in Abu Dhabi on October 26 last year, and she participated in the opening ceremony of the international event at the Emirati capital’s Zayed Sports City, Palestinian Arabic-language Ma’an news agency reported.
Her visit to the UAE marked the first of its kind by an Israeli minister to a Persian Gulf littoral state.
Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi have no diplomatic ties and the UAE does not recognize Israel, but the two sides have increased backchannel cooperation in recent years. There have been numerous reports of growing contacts between Saudi and Israeli officials, too.
Among Arab countries, Israel has diplomatic relations only with Egypt and Jordan.