Israel launches diplomatic offensive in Gulf Arab states

by WorldTribune Staff, October 31, 2018

Israel has launched an unprecedented push for closer ties with Gulf Arab states.

Communications Minister Ayoub Kara, at an Oct. 30 telecommunications conference in Dubai, called for “peace and security in every state.”

Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev, center, visits Abu Dhabi’s grand mosque. / Reuters

“Economic and scientific progress is what guarantees a future for the coming generations,” Kara said.

Israel is pressing for closer relations with the mainly Sunni Gulf states, which it sees as potential allies against Shi’ite power Iran, analysts say.

Meanwhile, the sudden historical visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Oman, where he discussed the “challenges facing the Middle East,” could be the first indication of the end of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s role as a mediator in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, reported on Oct. 30.

Related: Rumors swirl about MBS’s ‘dark side’ after 2nd Saudi crisis this year, October 30, 2018

Kara’s visit to the UAE on Oct. 30 followed visits by Netanyahu to Oman on Oct. 25 and Culture Minister Miri Regev’s trip to Abu Dhabi this past weekend.

Regev, wearing a red full-length abaya and white headscarf and speaking to the camera in Hebrew, toured the famed Sheikh Zayed mosque in Abu Dhabi, according to a report by Arutz Sheva.

“This is the first time that an Israeli minister is here on a visit,” Regev said, surrounded by a group of people in traditional Emirati dress.

Israel’s national anthem was also played at a judo tournament in Abu Dhabi on Oct. 28 after one of its athletes won gold – believed to be the first time the Israeli anthem has been played publicly in an Arab Gulf state, the Arutz Sheva report said.

Netanyahu has long sought a rapprochement with Arab states, citing in part concerns over their common enemy Iran.

Jordan and Egypt are the only two Arab states to have full diplomatic relations with Israel.

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