Muslim Times(Web Desk) – Israeli Intelligence and Transport Minister Yisrael Katz has called for stronger relations with the Persian Gulf Arab states in civilian sectors such as aviation security, transportation, commercial aviation and tourism.
“In my view cooperation between Israel and the (Persian) Gulf states can and should be expanded,” said Katz, speaking to Reuters on Thursday.
The intelligence official described recent public visits by Israeli ministers to the Persian Gulf as “part of a wider trend of strengthening ties between Israel and the Gulf countries based on common interests and a mutual recognition of the potential benefits for both sides, both in terms of contending with common challenges and threats as well as opportunities.”
Katz visited the Omani capital, Muscat, earlier this week to attend a transportation conference, reportedly seeking to propose a railway linking Israel’s access to the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf.
The event was preceded by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s surprise arrival in the country two weeks earlier. Netanyahu met with Oman’s ruler Sultan Qaboos bin Said al-Said. Israeli Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev also traveled to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to accompany Israel’s judo team on the very same day.
While many observers believe that cooperation on numerous levels, such as arms deals and high-level meetings, covertly exist between the Persian Gulf Arab states and the Israeli regime, the latest string of public visits by Israeli and Zionist figures to Arab states has been seen by many as new and explicitly subversive policy change in the region, targeting the Palestinian resistance and its backers, specifically Iran.
Speaking earlier on Friday, Israeli politician and former military general Yoav Gallant called for a further opening of relations with all Arab countries in a united front against Iran.
“If you look at the picture, there is no real reason for Saudi Arabia or the (Persian) Gulf states to fight with Israel. We have shared interests, a shared enemy called Iran, which threatens Saudi Arabia from close with all that it has. And therefore there is no reason we should not be in the process to have peace in the region,” said Gallant.
Moreover, Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth revealed on Friday that Israeli Economy Minister Eli Cohen had received an official invitation to participate in an upcoming conference in Bahrain’s capital city of Manama.
Arab media outlets have speculated the recent developments to be in line with what US President Donald Trump has labeled as the “Deal of the Century”, underlining the US president’s allegedly new Middle East road map that supposedly seeks to push for Israel’s recognition in the region. Trump has yet to officially publish the controversial proposal that has drawn condemnation from many Palestinian and regional figures.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been seen by many as the leading Arab figure in implementing Trump’s new policy. In the last few months alone, Saudi Arabia has expressed its recognition for the Israeli regime, opened its airspace for Israeli flights, been visited by Zionist delegations and has banned over 600,000 Palestinians in Jordan from participating in Muslim annual Hajj congregation.