Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu allegedly travelled secretly on November 22 to the city of Neom on Saudi Arabia’s Red coast for a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, an Israeli official told local media on November 23.
Both Israel and Saudi Arabia are thought to have maintained secret ties for many years now but it is the first time such a high-level meeting has been reported, amid a general non-existence of official ties. When the news broke on several media outlets, Netanyahu’s social media adviser Topaz Luk tweeted saying, “While Benny Gantz is dealing with politics the Prime Minister is making peace.”
As per interpretations, Netanyahu’s office has neither commented on the story nor denied it. Moreover, reports also claimed that Israel’s Prime Minister did not notify his coalition partners, who are also his rivals, including Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, about the trip to Saudi Arabia. But, the director of Mossad, Yossi Cohen, allegedly joined Netanyahu for the visit where the Israeli PM was reportedly on ground in Neom for at least five hours.
Earlier, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had said on November 23 that he participated in a “constructive” meeting with the Saudi Crown Prince the night before wrapping up his seven-nation trip on behalf of the outgoing US President Donald Trump administration. Pompeo visited Israel along with other Gulf nations but did not mention Netanyahu’s presence in Neom.