Oman's Shura Council stiffens boycott law against Israel

Oman and Saudi Arabia are often spoken of as the two most likely countries to join the accords. Israel and Oman had trade relations from 1994-2000 even though they never formalized ties.

 Muscat, Oman (Illustrative). (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Muscat, Oman (Illustrative).
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Oman’s Shura Council stiffened its boycott law against Israel on Monday. This is at a time when the Jewish state is pushing for overflight rights in the Gulf country to shorten the travel route to India.

According to the Omani WAF news agency, the Shura Council has amended the boycott law to expand its scope.

The amendment must now be reviewed by Oman’s legislative and legal committee, WAF reported.

Shura Council Vice President Yaqoub Al-Harithi said the amendment leads to “an expansion of criminalization and an expansion of boycotting this entity,” according to WAF.

Israel seeks to expand ties with Oman

Israel has sought to expand the US-brokered Abraham Accords under which it normalized ties with four Arab countries in 2020 and 2021, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan.

Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said gives a speech after being sworn in before the royal family council in Muscat, Oman January 11, 2020. (credit: SULTAN AL HASANI/REUTERS)Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said gives a speech after being sworn in before the royal family council in Muscat, Oman January 11, 2020. (credit: SULTAN AL HASANI/REUTERS)

Oman and Saudi Arabia are often spoken of as the two most likely countries to join the accords. Israel and Oman had trade relations from 1994-2000 even though they never formalized ties.

Presumptive prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the now-deceased Omani sultan Qaboos bin Said in 2018 during his previous prime ministerial tenure.

That same year, then-Omani foreign minister Yusuf bin Alawi visited al-Aqsa Mosque.

Saudi Arabia allows for Israeli overflights despite the lack of normalized ties, but Oman does not.

Netanyahu has spoken of the importance of expanding the Abraham Accords in a number of interviews he has given in the last week as his new government takes power.

He has focused specifically on Saudi Arabia, with Yediot Aharonot reporting that talks were underway between Israel, the US and Saudi Arabia with respect to a normalization deal.

According to the report, Netanyahu would freeze his pledge to advance annexation policies in the West Bank in exchange for a normalization deal with Saudi Arabia.

Reuters contributed to this report.