The Arab world must take initiatives to make Israel overcome “fears for its future” as a Jewish state in the Middle East, Oman Minister of Foreign Affairs said  Saturday at the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Jordan.
“The West has offered Israel political, economic and military support and it now holds all the means of power (…) but despite that, it fears for its future as a non-Arab country surrounded by 400 million Arabs,” Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah observed.
While bin Alawi stopped short of advocating for the recognition of the State of Israel, the minister said: “I believe that we Arabs must (…) try to ease those fears that Israel has through initiatives and real deals between us and Israel.”
“[W]e want them themselves to feel that there are no threats to their future,” he added. Bin Alawi previously remarked that “maybe it is time for Israel to be treated the same [as other states in the Middle East].”
Oman has no diplomatic relations with Israel, but the relationship between the two countries has been gradually strengthening. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made an historic trip to Oman in October – the first official visit by an Israeli leader to the Gulf nation in over two decades.
The meeting between the Israeli leader and Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said was hailed as groundbreaking and as a sign of warming ties between the Jewish State and the Sunni Arab world. The two discussed “ways to advance the peace process in the Middle East and discussed a number of issues of mutual interest for peace and stability” in the region.
In February, Netanyahu met one-on-one with bin Alawi at a conference in Warsaw that attracted officials from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates. “This is an important and new vision for the future,” the minister said. “People of the Middle East have suffered a lot because they are stuck to the past. This is a new era for the future and for prosperity for every nation.”
[Photo: Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson / Wikimedia Commons]