Israel military chief met Saudi counterpart in Washington: report

Israel military chief met Saudi counterpart in Washington: report
The pair are believed to have spoken about Iran on the sidelines of a conference for military leaders, Israeli media reported.
2 min read
17 October, 2018
Israel's chief of staff Gadi Eizenkot and his Saudi counterpart Fayyad bin Hamed al-Ruwaili [Getty]
Israel's military chief Lt-Gen Gadi Eisenkot met with his Saudi counterpart at a conference for military commanders held in Washington, according to Israeli press.

Eisenkot met Saudi Arabia's Chief of Staff General Fayyad bin Hamed al-Ruwaili on the sidelines of the Counter–Violent Extremist Organizations conference, reported Israel's KAN public television.

A statement released by Israel's military had said that Eisenkot would meet with military officials from the US and other foreign commanders, but it did not specify which ones.

A photo released by the Israeli Department of Defense shows Eisenkot seated at the same table as the Chief of Staff of the Egyptian Armed Forces Mohamed Farid, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of Jordan Lt-Gen Mahmoud Abdul Halim Freihat, as well as the Chief of Staff of Bahrain, Lt-Gen Dhiab bin Saqr al-Nuaimi, Jerusalem Post reported.

While Israel has no diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia, the report adds further credence to suspicions of growing Saudi-Israeli relations, as they both share a common enemy in Iran. 

Read more: The cautious détente between Saudi Arabia and Israel

In the past two years, a series of statements and public appearances of Israeli and Saudi officials gives an impression of a cautious rapprochement between the two states.

Last July, Eizenkot said that Israel and Saudi Arabia had a mutual interest in thwarting Iranian regional drives. In November, Saudi newspaper Elaph published an unprecedented interview with Eizenkot - the first Israeli military officer ever interviewed by Saudi media. 

On Tuesday, Israel reportedly gave its backing to Saudi Arabia over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who is believed to have been murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

An unnamed Israeli security source made the remarks to Elaph. "Israel does not trust the reports on Khashoggi coming out of Turkey and has more trust in what Saudi Arabia is saying," the source was quoted as saying.