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Israeli official confirms: Bin Salman visited Tel Aviv last month

King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa [right] meets Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman al-Saud [left] in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on August 1, 2017 [Bandar Algaloud / Saudi Royal Council / Handout - Anadolu Agency]
King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa (L) meets Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman al-Saud (R) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on 1 August 2017 [Bandar Algaloud / Saudi Royal Council/Anadolu Agency]

An Israeli official told AFP on Friday that Saudi Crown Prince Emir Mohammed bin Salman secretly visited Tel Aviv in September.

The official, who requested that his identity remains anonymous, refused to reveal the nature of bin Salman’s meetings in Tel Aviv, the people he met, as well as the results of his discussions with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Israeli official’s statement confirmed the accuracy of what the official Hebrew radio broadcast earlier, when it revealed that “an emir from the Saudi royal court visited the country secretly on 7 September and discussed with senior Israeli officials the idea of pushing forward regional peace.”

During that time, journalist Ariel Kahana, who works for the nationalist and right-wing weekly Makor Rishon, tweeted: “Bin Salman visited Israel with an official delegation and met with officials.”

A few days later, the famous Saudi blogger Mujtahidd wrote: “The journalist Noga Tarnopolsky, a specialist in Israeli affairs who possesses international credibility, has confirmed Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Israel.”

Immediately after, the hashtag #Bin_Salman_Visited_Israel topped the most circulated Twitter hashtags in a number of countries, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Read: Saudi official denies Crown Prince’s visit to Israel

Unprecedented relationships

Israeli analysts and officials confirm the existence of coordination and progress in the relations between Israel and Arab countries, especially the Gulf States. They are expecting that some of them will be announced in the near future, based on the fact that Saudi Arabia and Israel share a common hostility towards Iran.

On 6 September, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that there was cooperation at various levels with Arab states with which Israel had no peace agreements. He explained that these contacts were taking place in a discrete manner and are the most extensive ones that ever took place in any previous era in the history of Israel.

Recently, Saudi Arabia’s and Israel both welcomed US President Donald Trump’s refusal to recognize Iran’s commitment to the nuclear agreement and the imposition of new sanctions on Tehran.

On his part, Netanyahu referred to the issue saying that “when Israel and the main Arab states have one vision, one has to be careful. This means that something important is happening.”

In this context, Ayoob Kara, the Minister of Communications, said that “there are a large number of Arab countries that have ties with Israel in one way or another, starting with Egypt and Jordan (which are linked by peace treaties with Israel) to Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, North Africa and a section of Iraq (meaning the Kurdish region)… These countries share with (Israel) their fear of Iran.”

Read: Saudi plan to ‘accept Israel as a brotherly state’

Kara said “the majority of the Gulf states are well prepared for open diplomatic relations with Israel, because they feel they are threatened by Iran, and not by Israel.”

But, he explained that “the relations between the Saudi Sunni alliance and Israel are under the radar, and are not public, because of the culture of the Middle East that is sensitive regarding this matter.”

The recent months have witnessed unprecedented Saudi calls for normalization with Israel, even though calling for such a move publicly was considered “a sin” before bin Salman’s rise to power.

The recent period has also witnessed an informal economic rapprochement between Riyadh and Tel Aviv, where former Saudi businessmen and former senior officials have visited Israel. Camera lenses have also captured handshakes between Israeli officials and Saudi princes, which is unprecedented.

Israel has supported the current blockade imposed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt on Qatar. Tel Aviv has repeatedly called on Doha not to host prominent Palestinian figures, which is now a view shared by Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.

Read: Saudi FM avoids condemning Israel at UN

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  • abu antar

    As i repeatedly post, there is a new M.E.,fact. One needn’t like it but this is re’al politik.This is why the Palestinians need to adjust and change their way of thinking (Hamas).Only then the Palestinians will move forward and have political gains.I wish them luck.

    • Joseph Kelsall

      They will need more than luck. They are fighting the might of world Judaism and its tacky tentacles in the USA and UK. This includes the parliamentary Official Friends of Israel in the UK .

  • Blake

    Always anonymous and always Zionist and of course the Zionist colonialist never lies

    • Joseph Kelsall

      Furthermore, it just demonstrates the nature of the Israeli beast. Maybe he did, maybe he never? But the statement, even if untrue, would create doubt. Did the prince think he was talking with jews with no guile.

  • as1991

    First things first, Saudi Arabia is not threatened by Iran. It is crystal clear that Iran incites violence, sedition and unrest in the entire region. Iran seeks to dominate the region which is something impossible.

    • Joseph Kelsall

      Who told you that? Do you think that Israel has no ambitions to achieve hegemony in the Middle East? I have recently returned from Iran and I saw no evidence of the Iran broadcast in the Western media. Are we being led up the garden path that led to the Iraq fiasco? The sanctions on Iran are useless. You could smuggle a Jumbo jet through its porous borders as well as the souped up speedboats from Khasab, Oman, crossing the Straits of Hormuz every night. In addition, the Iranian Gulf is like a huge condom in which sperm can only escape through Hormuz after battling through China’s super anti ship missiles.

      • Meifumado

        Israel only wants to defend it’s land,stop attacking and you will not be hurt.

        Iran has already taken over Lebanon and has sunk it’s talons into Yemen and Syria to mention a couple.

        • Malcolm Scrawdyke

          Israel is an expansionist ethnic cleanser which has carried out a brutal and illegal military occupation for 50 years.

          • Meifumado

            So you have no idea about actual facts do you?

            I guess Israel must be doing a bad job of “ethnic cleansing” considering it has only killed some ten thousand “palestinains” in the past 70 years…………..

          • Malcolm Scrawdyke

            Ethnic Cleansing is the deliberate and systematic removal of a racial, political, or cultural group from a specific geographical area. A 1993 United Nations Commission defined it more specifically as, “the planned deliberate removal from a specific territory, persons of a particular ethnic group, by force or intimidation, in order to render that area ethnically homogenous.”

          • Sam Larsen

            Malcolm, so how there are Arab muslims in Tel Aviv?

          • Malcolm Scrawdyke

            “This year the city is celebrating its 100th anniversary. However, it didn’t just ‘emerge from the sand’ in 1909, as the Zionist myth tells us. Al-Sumayil, Salame, Sheikh Munis, Abu Kabir, Al-Manshiyeh: these are the names of some of the villages that made room for it and the names are still used today – Tel Avivians still talk about the Abu Kabir neighbourhood, they still meet on Salame Street. Tel Aviv University Faculty Club used to be the house of the sheikh of Sheikh Munis. It’s an amazing feat, a tribute to the Israeli imagination, to be able to pronounce the Arab names without making the connection to the original Arab population, to think of Tel Aviv as the ‘first Hebrew city’, and refuse to acknowledge its indigenous non-Hebrew inhabitants. This is a city where people speak French and English, but where hardly anyone speaks Arabic, one of the two official languages of Israel. There is no ‘liberal’ rhetoric when Tel Avivians need to rent their house to an Arab student or become the neighbours of an Arab family. Tel Aviv, the most ‘liberal’ and ‘tolerant’ city in Israel, as its residents like to imagine it, is not only 100 years old, but almost 100 per cent Arab-free”

            Fantasising Israel by Yonatan Mendel. London Review Of Books June 2009

          • Sam Larsen

            Malcolm, I think you are quoting a confused author. while he says Tel Aviv is Arab-free, yet he also says of indigenous non-hebrew inhabitants.

            Just so you are aware, there was no country or political entity called “Palestine” or Palestinian citizens. Yaseer Arafat was Egyptian. “Palestinians” themselves identify or trace their family roots to either Egyptian or Jordanian ancestry. Before Arab muslims invaded and occupied Jerusalem in 636 AD, Jews lived in the Holy Land. Jews were subjugated, forcibly converted to Islam or persecuted till they left their lands.

          • Malcolm Scrawdyke

            Why Palestinians may be more Jewish than you. Shlomo Sand. Jewish Chronicle.

            This, says Sand, sipping coffee in the offices of his London publisher, came as a very big surprise to him too. Until starting research on his current work, the 63-year-old teacher of contemporary history at the University of Tel Aviv had specialised in Western Europe. “But I began to be bothered by the question of what is a Jew. I wanted to know — what is a people. What is a nation? What is a race?”

            His conclusion was that the Jewish people was a creation of 19th-century historians. But we need not feel singled out. Sand also asserts that the French, Italian and German peoples were invented at the same time. “To construct at new nation in modern times you needed to create a history of that people. Most French people thought that they were descended from the Gauls. Most Italians believed they were descendents of Julius Caesar. This is not true. Neither is it true that Jews are descended from the Kingdom of David and Solomon. We took the Bible, a theological masterpiece, and tried to make it into a historical work when it was no such thing.”

            Sand says he was staggered to find that the exile of Jews from the Land of Israel after the fall of the Second Temple never took place in the accepted sense. “If you ask anyone in the street whether the Jews were exiled they will all say yes. I thought so too. But then I started to look for a book about the exile. There were no books. The Romans did not force the Jews to leave. It was a society of peasants. Peasants do not migrate en masse. No one forced them out. I’m sure there was emigration but it was just five per cent of society at most.”

            He maintains that the Jewish diaspora that sprung up around the Mediterranean was more to do with the success of the Jewish religion rather than mass migration — that it was “Jewishness” that spread and not the Jews. Says Sand: “Six years ago I believed that Jews were a closed religion — then I discovered there was forced conversion. I was staggered to find this.”

            According to Sand’s view, most Jews stayed put and would have later been converted to Islam. So is he asserting that the real Jews are in fact the Palestinians? “I wouldn’t say that the Palestinians are the direct descendants of the old Jews — they are mixed, like everyone else in the world.”

            What he does claim is that Jews of Sephardi descent are likely to have originated in North Africa and that those of Eastern European descent are likely to come from the Khazarian kingdom, between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. This is, of course, something that most Jews would find very difficult to accept.

            “It’s not my idea,” says Sand. “The great Jewish historian, Ben-Zion Dinur, described the Khazar kingdom — a land of converts to Judaism — as ‘the mother of the diaspora’. It is the only thing that can explain the massive number of Jews in Eastern Europe. The only difference between Dinur and me is that he claimed a lot of Jews came from Palestine to Khazaria. He needed an ethnic line. I’m sure a few Jews went there as missionaries but there was no ethnic line.”

          • Sam Larsen

            Malcolm, perhaps you did not know that Israel gave up Sinai to Egypt and Gaza to the Palestinians. Israel could have swallowed the weak Jordan in 1967 and 1973 if it wanted to, but Israel did not.

        • LD

          Right, Israel wants to defend the land it has stolen from the Palestinians and the Syrians.

  • Keyboard Soldier

    Israel and Saudi Arabia should patch up. This will in fact push Iran to patch up as well because it would not want to remain isolated like that.

    Once Saudi Arabia goes in, other Sunni-dominated countries will also follow suit.

  • Meifumado

    The Saudi are smart to ally with Israel.

  • Dow Jones

    Conspiring with the little Satan, I’m shocked, truly gobsmacked. I will give cheesecloth months above ground, if he can even manage that. Betraying your fellow camel herders to conspire with the squatters in Palestine, now that is dumb.

  • | truthaholics

    Don’t forget what happened to King Faisal. This sly usurper may yet rue the day he got too greedy and ruthless and sold out Palestine …