President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. is likely to welcome a new Saudi-Israeli rapprochement, although it is unclear whether his administration will do it in the same way as President Trump, or seek to use this. possibility as a lever in the restart efforts. Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Opening diplomatic relations with Israel could also help Prince Mohammed rehabilitate his reputation in Washington, mitigating criticism over the Saudi war in Yemen, the crackdown on militants and the murder of Saudi dissident writer Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents. in Istanbul in 2018.
Netanyahu’s visit reportedly followed the end of the virtual Group of 20 summit meeting hosted by Saudi Arabia over the weekend and coincided with a visit by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who met with Prince Mohammed Sunday night. Mr. Pompeo’s plane landed in Neom at 8:30 p.m. and left three hours later.
The Flightradar24 website, which provides live flight tracking, showed a flight leaving Tel Aviv on Monday at around 7:30 p.m., which then fell off radar near Neom about an hour later. The same plane reappeared and returned to Tel Aviv after midnight.
Avi Scharf, editor of the English-language edition of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, posted a map of the first flight on Twitter on Monday.
“ABSOLUTELY rare direct Israeli flight to the new Saudi megalopolis Neom on the Red Sea coast,” Scharf wrote, noting that the jet used was the one Mr. Netanyahu had used before.