Israel’s foreign ministry announced on Tuesday that it had launched a “virtual embassy” to boost dialogue with the Gulf countries.
“We are pleased to announce the re-launch of ‘Israel in the Gulf’ page which aims to promote dialogue between Israel and the Gulf nations,” the ministry said on Twitter.
It pointed out that the move was made in light of what it described as “great convergence that recently began to grow between Israel and the Arab countries.”
“We [Israel] hope that this virtual embassy will contribute to ing the understanding between the people of the Gulf and the people of Israel in various fields,” the ministry added.
The “Israel in the Gulf” page was first launched in July 2013 but stopped operating in December 2014. The spokesman of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Ofir Gendelman, recently urged Gulf nationals to follow the page “with a view to promoting dialogue between you [Gulf people] and us [Israel]”.
Israel has been undertaking a major normalisation drive in recent months, which has seen Netanyahu and other Israeli establishment figures visit Gulf states including Oman, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Though Israel and its main ally the US have been keen to paint these efforts as a positive step towards Israel’s integration into the region, many are opposed to the initiative.
In November, a number of Gulf nationals launched a campaign on social media networks, dubbed “#Khaleejis_against_normalisation,” calling the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) “to halt all forms of normalisation with Israel.”