What is Oman's position on the Gaza war?

TEHRAN – Over the past three months, the Sultanate of Oman, as a unified nation and government, has expressed support for the oppressed people of Palestine and the resistance forces known as the Axis of Resistance.

Currently, the government and people of Oman can be recognized as supporters of the Palestinian issue and axis of resistance in difficult times.

In these recent three months, the people of Oman and the government have come together in a unique way, breaking from the usual norms. They expressed their support for the Palestinians openly and actively, adapting it to the Omani context. In reaction to Israel's brutal attacks on Gaza, Oman revoked previous approval for Israeli flights to travel to East Asia and vice versa, which had been granted a few months earlier. Throughout these three months, Oman's Ministry of Charity and Religious Affairs dedicated Friday sermons and prayers to demonstrate solidarity with Palestine.

In a show of support for Palestine, Oman canceled major national celebrations, abstained from New Year's celebrations and suspended various festivals and concerts in Muscat. Oman immediately provided financial aid to Palestine during the ceasefire. Instead, anti-American sentiments and calls to bomb Tel Aviv were observed in the main square of Sultan Qaboos University as restrictions on universities and schools were eased. Schools organized programs without facing government opposition.

One school performance, which raised concerns among Israeli experts and the media, featured students marching in costumes resembling the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, armed with wooden weapons. It is worth noting that such activities are unusual in Oman. The Omani government authorized the media to portray Israeli activities without censorship and allowed unfettered criticism of Israel. Experts, academics and media figures freely expressed their views, while some prominent political figures and political analysts openly endorsed the activities and ideals of the opposition axis.

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Also, the authorities have given permission for unrestricted gatherings in central squares and important places in all cities in Oman. On several occasions, Omani citizens became emotional and raised critical and harsh slogans in front of the US and UK embassies. Taking advantage of this new open environment, the people of Oman continued to express their solidarity and support for the Palestinian cause in various ways. Substantial campaigns were launched to boycott manufacturing and service companies that supported Israel, forcing these companies to appease citizens and in some cases even close their branches.

The Grand Mufti of Oman, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Khalili, has emerged as a prominent religious leader in the Islamic world, holding a position created by the Government of Oman. With a sense of restraint, he supported Palestine and raised hopes that he might issue a fatwa authorizing jihad against Israel. Sultan Haitham condemned Israel's war crimes, and Oman's foreign ministry labeled the Israeli rulers as war criminals who should be tried in international courts. Additionally, the remarkable attendance of Oman's Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Undersecretary for Political Affairs at the International Conference on Palestine in Tehran underscores a significant diplomatic move.

Despite cautiously expressing its position along the axis of opposition, Oman, given its policies and actions, can actually be considered a friend of this coalition. While the Yemeni anti-Ansarullah movement conducts operations against Israel in support of the Palestinian cause, Oman not only avoids confining them in its diplomatic capital of Muscat, but actively supports their efforts. Oman rejects the use of its bases controlled by the United States and the United Kingdom for operations against Yemen and closes its airspace to any military aircraft. The Omani Foreign Ministry condemned the attacks on Yemen in a statement, pointing fingers openly at the United Kingdom and the United States. Amidst the challenges faced by anti-Axis supporters in other countries around the Persian Gulf, the Omanis, led by the Grand Mufti, actively cooperated in maintaining a strong position and avoided the Omani government interfering in their activities.

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After the Al-Aqsa storm operation, Oman revealed a significant change in its approach to the Palestinian issue. A US firm, in an article, highlights that Oman has departed from its long-standing stance of moderation. Today, Oman stands as the exemplary supporter of Palestine among the Persian Gulf states, providing unwavering support without double standards. In contrast, Qatar hosts Hamas leaders and appears to support the Palestinian resistance, but allows US bases on its soil to be used for attacks against Palestine's true supporter, Ansarullah.

While Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates assist Israel in various ways and limit public support for Palestine and condemnation of Israel, Oman actively supports the Palestinian resistance and opposition axis through diplomatic channels, public discourse, media and practical actions.

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