Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu triumphantly told members of his foreign ministry that cooperation between Israel and the Arab world is “unprecedented”.
Speaking during a pre-Jewish New Year celebration today, Netanyahu said:
Things that are happening today between Israel and the Arab world are unprecedented. Cooperation on a wide range of issues are occurring behind the scenes, more than at any time in Israel’s history
reported the Jerusalem Post.
In Netanyahu’s estimation, cooperation between Israel and the Arab world is greater than it was when Tel Aviv signed peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan. While describing the nature of the cooperation he said that it exists in “different ways” and different levels” even though it was not public.
The Israeli premier has been very vocal over the past few years about the need for Arab countries to come out publicly about their relations with Tel Aviv. Last year he told a conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organisations that it was time for Arab states to publicise their ties with Israel.
Major Arab countries are changing their view of Israel … they don’t see Israel anymore as their enemy, but they see Israel as their ally, especially in the battle against militant Islam with its two fountainheads [Iran and Daesh].
“Now, this is something that is forging new ties, many of them discreet, some of them open. And I think there too we can expect and should expect and should ask to see a change,” Netanyahu added.
Netanyahu has good reason to feel triumphant about the way Arab countries have sought amicable ties with Israel. In 2002 the late King Abdullah of Saudi offered to normalise relations with Israel under what became known as the Arab peace initiative, in exchange for full withdrawal of Israeli forces from the occupied Palestinian territories including East Jerusalem. It also demanded a just settlement for Palestinian refugees based on UN Resolution 194.
Despite conditioning normalisation with Israel’s commitment to uphold the principals enshrined in a two-state solution, Netanyahu seems to have lowered Arab demands significantly without having to concede anything.
Furthermore, officials from Arab countries have not only met with their counterparts in Israel they have also jumped on the Israeli bandwagon of equating Palestinian resistance with terrorism.