Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia this week. That’s the assessment of sources close to the Israeli leader who say the historic sit-down also included US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
On Sunday a flight-tracking website showed a plane flew from Tel Aviv to Neom, Saudi Arabia and Netanyahu had originally refused to confirm the meeting.
“My friends, I have never addressed such things along the years and I will not start with that now and I can only tell you that for years as prime minister, I have spared no effort to strengthen Israel and expand the circle of peace and with the help of God we manage to do that with our neighbors, with the Emirates, with Bahrain, with Sudan and I also hope that this wave will always go and expand,” he said.
However, an Israeli government official confirmed Netanyahu was in the meeting.
Pompeo did visit Saudi Arabia and met with the crown prince, but a Saudi official denied any Israelis were present, saying: “no such meeting occurred. The only officials present were American and Saudi.”
Despite the denial, sources confirmed the meeting with Joel Rosenberg on his news site All Israel News. Rosenberg has organized two meetings with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and US evangelical leaders.
Rosenberg believes Netanyahu’s reported visit isn’t necessarily a sign that the Saudi’s are ready to normalize ties with Israel.
“We should be cautious in drawing any hasty conclusions that the Saudis are ready to seal a formal peace deal, but a meeting with Netanyahu could be seen as the first of many steps toward negotiating such a deal. There is a case, however, for moving quickly. Joe Biden has threatened to ‘reassess’ the US-Saudi alliance, which has grown strong under President Trump,” said Rosenberg.
President Trump has said a number of times the Saudis would eventually sign on to the Abraham Accords.
Earlier this year Rosenberg told CBN News what it would mean if the Saudis normalized relations with Israel and came to Jerusalem.
“It would be historic if the Saudis who are already starting to warm their relations with Israel,” he said. “But if they decided that the king or the crown prince or one of their major leaders was to come here, you would be covering it and it would be huge. It would be an epic making moment.”
The Israeli government has not commented on the meeting, which has been reported by several Israeli news outlets, but there has been no official denial either. Netanyahu was joined by Mossad head Yossi Cohen, who has spearheaded the normalization efforts between Israel and the Sunni Gulf states, according to the Israeli reports.