Israeli minister reveals covert contacts with Saudi Arabia

Katrina Barker
November 20, 2017

In the interview, Eisenkot called Iran "the biggest threat to the region" and said Saudi Arabia was in "complete agreement".

While Tehran has made no secret of its political support for Houthi, it has repeatedly denied rumors of arming the Yemeni Houthi, with Iranian President Rouhani stating that the Houthis' missile launch at Saudi Arabia's capital was a "reaction to aggression", adding that Riyadh's belief in the Islamic Republic being its "enemy" is a "strategic mistake".

"With President Trump. there is an opportunity to build a new worldwide coalition in the region".

Arab foreign ministers gathered at the League's headquarters in Cairo Sunday for an emergency meeting called by Saudi Arabia. He described Sadat as "a courageous leader, who stood against the tide and paved the way for other Arab leaders to recognize the importance of strategic ties with Israel".

Sunni Muslim powerhouse Saudi Arabia and Iran, the predominant Shiite power, have for decades stood on opposing sides of conflicts in the Middle East including in Syria and Yemen.

The disclosure comes just days after the publication of an unprecedented interview with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief of staff to a Saudi newspaper.

That plan makes those relations contingent on a full withdrawal by Israel from territory it captured in the 1967 Middle East war, including East Jerusalem.

Hussein Ibish, senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, said Steinitz's remarks "won't surprise anyone who's been paying attention to the budding courtship between Israel and Saudi Arabia, which is being especially pushed by the Israeli side".

Gulf Arab countries are also anxious about the Islamic republic's support for Huthi rebels in Yemen.

Also in September, Israel Radio reported that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had secretly met officials in Israel that month, drawing an official denial from Riyadh.

However, Riyadh insists that the closure of all Yemeni ground, air and sea ports by the Saudi-led coalition forces is temporary and will not interfere with food deliveries to the country.

In what is perhaps the only concrete measure, the ministers said Arab telecommunications satellites would ban Iranian-financed television stations for what they said was their fomenting of sectarian and ethnic tensions and because they posed a threat to Arab security. Both sides refuse to back down, but Doha says it is ready to engage with U.S. and Kuwaiti mediation.

Netanyahu has described relations with the Arab world as the "best ever", though without providing any details.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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