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Israelis will be able to visit Gulf States next year, says former minister

November 26, 2019 at 2:54 pm

Emirates plane at the airport, 5 January 2018 [Ali Atmaca/Anadolu Agency]

A former Minister of Communications in Israel has said that all Israelis will be able to visit the Gulf States from next year for business and political purposes, Maan News Agency reported on Tuesday.

Ayoob Kara told Israel’s i24news channel that normal ties will be declared between Israel and the Gulf States after the US has presented its “peace plan”.

Kara said that he has already started to meet and communicate with senior political leaders in Bahrain, and pointed out that he had previously visited Qatar on behalf of the Netanyahu government to meet with senior politicians.

Official confirmation of his efforts has been delayed due to the indictment of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on corruption and fraud charges.

The proceedings to impeach US President Donald Trump are also holding up official announcements about the normalisation of relations, said the Israeli Druze politician, who described his recent visit to the UAE as “great and historic”.

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The former minister told i24news that the idea of a gas pipeline between Saudi Arabia and Israel is possible, stating that the Saudi government is able to carry out such a project.

He revealed that this idea was initiated by a Gulf state, but he did not say which one.

Kara refused to answer a question about the reports of a meeting between Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman. “Such issues are sensitive,” he insisted.

“Nevertheless, Muslims with Israeli citizenship will soon be allowed to enter Makkah for pilgrimage using their Israeli-issued passports, and citizens from Arab states will be able to visit Israel and Jerusalem.”

Concluding the interview, Kara said that a prince from the UAE had recently visited Israel to get his wife treated at an Israeli hospital.