Israel has opened a new diplomatic mission in the Gulf, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Sunday, citing finance ministry costings for 2014 prepared for submission to the government this week.
“The paper is an economic plan for the next year and does not name the location of the new mission,” Haaretz said.
Questioned by AFP, a foreign ministry spokesman would say only that Israel “officially has no diplomatic representation in the Gulf.”
In May 2010, then Israeli trade minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer attended an international economic conference in Qatar. The first Israeli minister to visit the Gulf state since Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in November 2008.
Qatar, increasingly influential in the region, broke off diplomatic ties with Israel and closed the Israeli trade mission in Doha in protest against the Israeli military offensive in Gaza in December 2008-January 2009.
Besides Qatar, only Oman had established relations with Israel but they were broken in late 2000 after the beginning of the second Palestinian Intifada.
In January 2010, then national infrastructures minister Uzi Landau, attended a meeting of the International Agency for Renewable Energy in Abu Dhabi. But the United Arab Emirates stressed that his presence did not mean normalisation between the two countries.