Israeli minister seeking US-backed 'non-aggression pacts' in latest sign of normalisation with Gulf Arab nations

Israeli minister seeking US-backed 'non-aggression pacts' in latest sign of normalisation with Gulf Arab nations
Foreign Minister Israel Katz has previously hinted at backdoor discussions with unnamed Gulf Arab officials towards the normalisation of ties.
2 min read
06 October, 2019
Katz said he met last month with unnamed Gulf Arab ministers [Getty]
Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said on Sunday he was seeking "non-aggression" agreements with Gulf Arab nations that do not formally recognise the country as a prelude to possible future peace deals.

Details of the proposal were not made public, but it marks the latest sign of Israel's push to normalise ties with Gulf Arab states with whom it has no formal diplomatic relations.

Israel's occupation of Palestine has long prevented peace deals with Arab countries, but the past few months have seen increasing signs of warming ties with the Gulf states due to the countries' common enmity with Iran.

"Recently, I have been promoting, under the backing of the United States, a political initiative to sign 'non-aggression agreements' with the Arab Gulf states," Katz wrote on Twitter.

"The historic move will put an end to the conflict and allow civilian cooperation until peace agreements are signed."

Katz said he had discussed the initiative with unnamed Arab foreign ministers and US President Donald Trump's outgoing envoy Jason Greenblatt while attending the UN General Assembly in late September.

A spokesman for Katz declined to provide further details for now, and it was not clear how much progress he has made in the endeavour.

Only two Arab countries - Jordan and Egypt - have peace treaties with Israel, but there have been overt signs in recent months of improved relations with Gulf nations.

Last year witnesssed suprise talks between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Oman's Sultan Qaboos in Muscat.

Katz in July said he had met his Bahraini counterpart publicly for the first time during a visit to Washington, while a group of Israeli journalists attended the US-led economic conference on Israeli-Palestinian peace in Bahrain in June.

Backdoor discussions between Israeli and Emirati and Saudi officials have also been hinted at, with Saudi Arabia reportedly considering buying Israeli natural gas.

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