Thursday, April 21, 2016

Saudis Are Not Warming to Israel

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Much has been written in Israel and across the Arab world about a new relationship emerging between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings - but the perception is simply not correct.

Yes, lines of communication about security and terror and Islamic extremism are open and working. And two summers ago both Saudi Arabia and Egypt were kept up-to-date on Israel's actions against Hamas and they even egged Israel on to destroy Hamas.

And yes, Egypt just handed back to Saudi Arabia two Islands in the Straits of Tiran, the islands of Tiran and Sanafir. And the transfer of these Islands required Israeli approval -- so Saudi Arabia and Israel and Egypt engaged in important albeit indirect discussions.

BUT --- and there is a big but, the new Saudi King acts with a plan. And clearly, he has no plan to open relations with Israel - otherwise he would be doing that, even behind closed doors.
Saudi / Israeli interaction is only about achieving pragmatic small goals. It is that and nothing more.

We should continue to watch and see if more interaction and more expansive sharing takes place. That will be the sign of a real change in Saudi / Israel relations. 

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