Israel and the Arab Gulf states may face a common enemy in Iran and may not be in open conflict—but technically, they are still at war. Now Israel is talking with those countries about changing that technicality by signing non-aggression pacts with those Arab nations. Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz posted to Twitter that he has recently been promoting, with the support of the United States, a “political initiative to sign ‘non-war agreements’ with the Arab Gulf states. The historic move will put an end to the conflict and allow civilian cooperation until peace agreements are signed.”
In his tweet, which included a news report from Israel’s Channel 12, Katz further said that he presented the connect to multiple Arab foreign ministers and outgoing US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt during his recent visit to the United Nations. “I will continue to work to strengthen the status of Israel in the region and around the world,” said Katz in the tweet, which was translated from Hebrew by Google.
The tweet from Katz follows a report on the initiative by Channel 12 news. The Times of Israel recapped the Hebrew-language Channel 12 report by noting that Katz and the Arab contacts agreed to launch working groups to proceed towards the non-aggression pact plan. The report further clarified that the discussions come against the backdrop of the Iran threat and that fighting terror and economic cooperation are in the draft proposal.
Katz mentioned working with Arab nations on another initiative during his speech at the UN General Assembly in September. The Israeli diplomat and legislator reiterated a plan to build a rail line from the Arab nations in the Gulf to Israel’s coast on the Mediterranean. Katz said the plan would be to “connect the Palestinian Authority to this project” as a “boost” to the Palestinian economy and a boon to Middle East peace.
“Israel has a clear policy to advance ties, and normalization with the Arab Gulf States,” said Katz, whose speech was republished on the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
“We have no conflict with the Gulf states, and we have common interests in the field of security against the Iranian threat as well as in developing many joint civilian initiatives.”
Katz also has a long-term vision for the cooperation. “Israel has a lot of capabilities in many areas, including hi-tech, innovation, agriculture and water technology, which can help the Gulf States, and the Gulf States have a lot of capabilities that can help Israel as well,” he said.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, October 6, 2019)