Saudi Arabia cancels visit of Israeli spy chief after Netanyahu-MBS meeting leaks
Saudi Arabia is reported to have canceled a planned visit by Israel's head of intelligence last week.
- Saudi Arabia had canceled a visit by Israel’s head of intelligence last week.
- The cancellation was due to the previous meeting between the Saudi crown prince and the Israeli prime minister being leaked.
Saudi Arabia is reported to have canceled a planned visit by Israel’s head of intelligence last week.
The meeting was canceled after the Israeli media leaked news about the Israeli Prime Minister’s meeting with the Saudi Crown Prince and the US Secretary of State.
According to the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, Yossi Cohen, head of the intelligence agency Mossad, was supposed to fly to Riyadh last week.
Mossad acts as a medium and coordinates relations with states that do not share formal ties with Israel.
Alex Fishman, an analyst for the newspaper, wrote on Friday that Riyadh had canceled the visit as Netanyahu had revealed his meeting with bin Salman less than 24 hours after they had met.
Fishman said the kingdom was furious that Netanyahu had “showed off” about the meeting.
#BREAKING: Israel PM Netanyahu and head of the Mossad flew yesterday to Saudi Arabia, and Met Pompeo and MBS in the city of Neom, according to Israeli officials
— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) November 23, 2020
Netanyahu reportedly ordered his aides to leak the news to the Israeli media on the 23rd of November, outlining that the meeting between the three men had taken place in Neom.
Flight-tracking websites noted that Netanyahu’s private jet was on the ground in Saudi Arabia for two hours and returned to Israel at 12:30 am.
ABSOLUTELY rare Israeli flight direct to new Saudi mega-city Neom on Red Sea shore
It was Bibi's ex-fav bizjet t7-cpx. Back to Tel Aviv after 5 hours on ground pic.twitter.com/Ty9aedYbsK
— avi scharf (@avischarf) November 23, 2020
Denying that any such gathering had taken place, the Saudi Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan, tweeted at the time that “no such gathering occurred” and that “the only officials present were Saudi and American.”
I have seen press reports about a purported meeting between HRH the Crown Prince and Israeli officials during the recent visit by @SecPompeo. No such meeting occurred. The only officials present were American and Saudi.
— فيصل بن فرحان (@FaisalbinFarhan) November 23, 2020
However, Fishman wrote that the meeting’s news was leaked without Saudi approval and that “the Saudi Foreign Ministry was obliged to deny it completely.”
On Thursday, erstwhile Saudi chief spy Turki al-Faisal told CNN Arabic that Netanyahu was a “liar,” in reply to questions about whether the meeting in Neom had taken place.
He also rejected that Saudi Arabia was preparing to normalize ties with Israel.
Also, on Thursday, Netanyahu seemed to deny that the Neom gathering had taken place.
During a video seminar with the Hudson Institute, Netanyahu responded to whether the gathering had happened, saying: “You should not trust everything you read in the media.”
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