Omani FM concludes West Bank, Jerusalem visit with tour of Temple Mount

Bin Alawi said he came to the West Bank and Jerusalem to learn more about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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February 15, 2018 19:18
1 minute read.
Omani FM concludes West Bank, Jerusalem visit with tour of Temple Mount

Oman's Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi attends the preparatory meeting of Arab Foreign ministers of the 28th Ordinary Summit of the Arab League at the Dead Sea, Jordan. (photo credit: REUTERS/MUHAMMAD HAMED)

Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf Bin Alawi concluded a three-day visit of the West Bank and Jerusalem on Thursday touring the Temple Mount.

Bin Alawi visited the site alongside Wakf Islamic trust director in Jerusalem Azzam al-Khatib and Palestinian Authority Deputy Jerusalem Gov. Abdullah al-Siam.

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Pictures shared on social media show the Omani foreign minister standing in front of the Dome of the Rock.

Earlier in the day, he met President Mahmoud Abbas at the PA’s presidential headquarters in Ramallah.

They discussed “the efforts of the Palestinian leadership with different states and bodies in light of the American administration’s latest decision regarding the status of Jerusalem,” the official Omani news agency ONA reported.

In December, President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and initiated the relocation of the US Embassy to the city, breaking with decades of American policy and infuriating Palestinians.

The Ramallah-based Palestinian leadership has said it wants east Jerusalem to be the capital of a future Palestinian state.

On Wednesday, Bin Alawi said he came to the West Bank and Jerusalem to learn more about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“As long as we speak about Palestine, the Palestinians’ suffering and the future of this conflict, it is necessary for us to get to know the environment and background of this conflict and consult with our [Palestinian] brothers,” he said at an event at al-Quds University in Abu Dis, a town on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

The Omani minister visited the Nativity Church in Bethlehem, the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, Rawabi, the first planned Palestinian city, and Jericho.

He also met with several Fatah officials, including Fatah Central Committee members Jabril Rajoub, Muhammad Shtayyeh, Nasser al-Qidwa, Azzam al-Ahmad and Saeb Erekat.

Arab ministers, including many who represent countries without official ties with Israel, sometimes visit the West Bank, but rarely stay for more than one day.

Oman currently does not have official diplomatic ties with Israel. However, it previously operated a trade representative office in Tel Aviv from 1996 to 2000.

Bin Alawi presided over the Omani Foreign Ministry when the agreement to open the representative office was signed in 1996. He also visited prime minister Shimon Peres in Jerusalem in 1995 after prime minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated.


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