Netanyahu met Saudi crown prince and Pompeo in Saudi Arabia
Shafaq News/ Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secretly visited Saudi Arabia on Sunday and met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and visiting U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo there, Israel’s Kan public radio and Army Radio said on Monday.
Netanyahu’s office and the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem had no immediate comment.
Avi Scharf of Israel’s Haaretz newspaper published aviation tracking data showing that a business jet had made a brief trip from Tel Aviv to Neom, on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast, where Bin Salman and Pompeo had a scheduled meeting on Sunday.
The plane returned to Israel after only a few hours.
Israeli media reported that sources in the government stated that Netanyahu and Mossad chief Yossi Cohen were on the flight and met with Pompeo and bin Salman, possibly to discuss normalization or issues concerning Iran.
Pompeo has tried to coax the Gulf powerhouse to follow its neighbors, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, in establishing formal relations with Israel - a rapprochement built largely on shared concerns about Iran.
Riyadh has so far declined to normalize ties with Jerusalem, saying Palestinian statehood goals should be addressed first. But the Saudis have allowed Israeli airliners to overfly their territory to newly available Gulf destinations as well as to Asia.