Iran Uncomfortable, As Israel Cosies-Up with Arab Nations

The Arab Nations have gradually started to warm-up to Israel, some openly and some secretly. After the visit of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Oman, now Israel’s transportation and intelligence minister Yisrael Katz will follow-up the visit to Oman next week. There were earlier reports of the formation of Arab NATO to counter the growing Iranian threat.

Arye Shalicar, an adviser to Katz, said on Sunday that the minister will travel to Oman to take part in an international transportation conference and present his plan for building a rail line between Israel and Persian Gulf Arab countries.

Katz’s visit comes after the two sides confirmed Netanyahu’s secret trip to Oman on Friday with senior officials, including the head of the Mossad spy agency and his national security adviser. Oman and Israel reportedly had economic ties, but no diplomatic relations, in the aftermath of the 1993 Oslo Accord.

Among Arab countries, Israel has diplomatic relations only with Egypt and Jordan, but there have been numerous reports of growing contacts between Saudi and Israeli officials. Netanyahu’s rare visit came days after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made a three-day visit to Oman.

Netanyahu frequently boasts of warming behind-the-scenes ties with Arab countries. On Sunday, Israel’s “national” anthem was played for the first time at a judo tournament in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Meanwhile, an Israeli gymnastics delegation was in Qatar for the beginning of the world championships being held in Doha.

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