The Israeli regime has re-launched a “virtual embassy” in a bid to “promote dialogue” with the Persian Gulf Arab regimes, amid warming relations between the sides following years of clandestine contacts.
“We are pleased to announce the re-launch of ‘Israel in the [Persian] Gulf’ page which aims to promote dialogue between Israel and the [Persian] Gulf nations.
“We hope this virtual embassy will contribute to deepen understanding between the peoples of the [Persian] Gulf and the people of Israel in various fields,” the Israeli ministry for foreign affairs said in a post published on Twitter.
The “Israel in the [Persian] Gulf” Twitter page was first launched in mid-2013, but stopped operation after just one year.
Former chief of staff of the Israeli military, Gadi Eisenkot, secretly traveled twice last November to the United Arab Emirates, where he met with senior officials.
President of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), said the 58-year-old Israeli commander met with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan besides a number of high-ranking Emirati military officials, Israel’s Arabic-language MAKAN 33 public television network reported.
The senior AIPAC official further noted that an agreement on the sale of Israeli military hardware to the UAE was struck during the meeting.
A Persian Gulf kingdom has reportedly expressed interest in buying Israeli Hermes 450 attack drones a few years ago.
The Israeli side also agreed to make adequate preparations for the imminent visit of top-brass Emirati officers to Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in late November visited Oman, where he met Sultan Sayyid Qaboos bin Said Al Said at the Bait al-Barakah Royal Palace in the coastal city of Seeb near the capital Muscat.
Israel’s English-language daily newspaper The Jerusalem Post reported that the two men had discussed ways to advance the so-called Middle East peace process as well as matters of mutual interest.
Israeli Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev travels to the UAE to accompany Israel’s judo team at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam 2018.
Netanyahu was accompanied by senior officials, including the head of the Mossad spy agency and his national security adviser.
Netanyahu’s unpublicized visit to Oman came on the same day that Israeli Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev traveled to the UAE to accompany Israel’s judo team at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam 2018.
Regev arrived in Abu Dhabi on October 26 last year, and she participated in the opening ceremony of the international event at the Emirati capital’s Zayed Sports City, Palestinian Arabic-language Ma’an news agency reported.
A senior Hezbollah official describes the Persian Gulf monarchies’ attempts at normalizing relations with Israel as a Saudi decision.
Her visit to the UAE marked the first of its kind by an Israeli minister to a Persian Gulf littoral state.
Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi have no diplomatic ties and the UAE does not recognize Israel, but the two sides have increased backchannel cooperation in recent years. There have been numerous reports of growing contacts between Saudi and Israeli officials too.
Among Arab countries, Israel has diplomatic relations only with Egypt and Jordan.
Saudi Arabia has hostile ties with resistance movements in the Palestinian territories, including Hamas which is fighting the Israeli occupation.