Israel greenlights 'Hejaz railway' link to Saudi Arabia: Israel state TV
Israel's prime minister has greenlighted work to begin on planned railroad network that will connect the Jewish state to Saudi Arabia, Israeli state-run TV reported on Saturday.
According to a translation of the report by The New Arab's Arabic-language service, Binyamin Netanyahu and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz have agreed to "immediately launch" the project.
"The channel's political pundit Dennis Weiss stressed that the administration of US President Donald Trump supports the project," the report said.
"He added that it will strengthen relations with 'moderate nations' in the region and fight the threat of Iran," it added.
Under the proposal, goods could travel by rail from Israel's port of Haifa through Jordan to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.
Katz last year spoke to Saudi-funded news website Elaph about the freight railway network, saying he wanted to revive the historic Hejaz railway.
"As you can see this regional project will link trains to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates," he said.
He added that the project will also give Palestinians greater access to Haifa's port, with a station in the northern West Bank city of Jenin.
The report is the latest in a series showing warming ties between Israel and Gulf states that are increasingly coming out in the open as they find common cause against mutual foe Iran.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in a magazine interview in April that Israelis as well as Palestinians "have the right to have their own land".
King Salman however later reaffirmed Riyadh's "steadfast" support for the Palestinian cause.
Netanyahu frequently boasts of growing, covert cooperation with moderate Arab countries.