An Israeli delegation, headed by Deputy Director-General for the Middle East in the Israeli Foreign Ministry Yaakov Hadas, visited the gulf nation of Oman last week to mark ten years for the construction of a desalinization plant which was made possible through multilateral relations committees which began operating after the Madrid peace conference in 1991. Oman has severed diplomatic relations with Israel since the breakout of the second intifada in 2000.
The desalinization plant, which was built in 1996, is located in the capital of Muscat, and is operating with cooperation between Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, the United States, Japan, Holland, and South Korea. The plant has remained in full operation through the rough years of the intifada, and is in fact the last existing fruit of peace which remains from the 1993 Oslo accords.
The board of directors of the plant meet twice a year with the participation of Israeli representatives. This time, the Omani organizers of the conference purposely did not invite any representatives from the Palestinian Foreign Ministry, which is controlled by Hamas, in order to allow the participation of both Israeli and American representatives. Instead, the Omanis invited one of the advisors close to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, something Israel and the US could definitely live with.
During the visit, the Israeli delegation met with the Deputy Foreign Minister of Oman Sayed Bader who is also the chairman of the board of directors of the plant, who received the Israelis with open arms. The conference itself included research and innovations in the area of water desalinization. The Omanis also announced during the conference that next year, Israeli and Palestinian scientists will be invited to Oman in order to conduct different types of research in the area of water.
The delegation also conducted talks with other Omani government officials and expressed their wishes that Oman renew its diplomatic relations with Israel.