Israeli military chief wants closer Saudi ties as Iran tensions rise

20 November, 2017, 02:22 | Author: Katrina Soto
  • Israel Ready to Work With Saudis Against Iran

According to the military correspondent of The Jerusalem Post, an interview with General Eisenkot in Tel Aviv was taken by a journalist-representative of the Druze community of Israel, who is an employee of the Saudi portal.

In an interview with Reuters on Thursday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir, asked about reports of cooperation with Israel, cited a Saudi peace initiative, first adopted in 2002 by the Arab League, as key to forging any relationship.

Saudi Arabia ramped up its campaign against Iran's growing influence in the Arab World Sunday by persuading most of the 22 member states of the Arab League to condemn Iran's Lebanese ally, Hezbollah, as a "terrorist organization". However, much points to the consideration of "bold decisions" by Tel Aviv and Riyadh, including official visits and the establishment of diplomatic relations. He described Sadat as "a fearless leader, who stood against the tide and paved the way for other Arab leaders to recognize the importance of strategic ties with Israel".

The leader of Hezbollah, the Lebanese group supported by Iran , has accused Saudi Arabia of pressing Israel to launch attacks against it.

While Israel and Saudi Arabia do not have diplomatic relations, they have been edging closer recently, including a visit past year by a retired Saudi general heading a delegation seeking to encourage better relations.

Israel and Hezbollah fought a devastating war in 2006.

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.

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Formal ties do not seem likely due to Israel's continuing occupation of Palestinian territory and the lack of progress in peace efforts, but behind-the-scenes cooperation has opened up in various areas, a number of experts and officials have said.

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

An Israeli cabinet minister said on Sunday that Israel had covert ties with "many" Arab and Muslim states but was obliged not to name them at the other sides´ request.

Saudi Arabia has since 2015 been leading an Arab coalition fighting on the side of Yemen's internationally recognized government.

His son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner has reportedly formed a bond with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

At the same time, the chief of the General Staff of the Israeli Armed Forces noted the readiness of Tel Aviv to exchange intelligence with Riyadh to neutralize threats from Tehran.

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