News / Middle East

FM: Israel Close to Forging New Ties Across Arab World

FILE - Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
FILE - Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
Reuters
Israel is holding secret talks with some Arab States that do not recognize it, looking to establish diplomatic ties based on a common fear of Iran, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Monday.
 
Among the countries he was in contact with were Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, Lieberman told newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth - the first such disclosure by a senior Israeli official.
 
The two nations swiftly denied the existence of any talks with Israel.
 
Both these states, along with most other Arab nations, have traditionally been highly hostile towards Israel, which has only signed peace deals with two neighbors - Egypt and Jordan.
 
However, anti-Israeli sentiment was being superseded by a growing concern over Iran's nuclear program, Tehran's regional allies, and the menace of Islamist militancy, Lieberman said.
 
“For the first time there is an understanding there that the real threat is not Israel, the Jews or Zionism. It is Iran, global jihad, [Lebanese Shi'ite guerrilla group] Hezbollah and al Qaeda,” the foreign minister said.
 
“There are contacts, there are talks, but we are very close to the stage in which within a year or 18 months it will no longer be secret, it will be conducted openly,” added Lieberman, who is a far rightist in the coalition government.
 
Lieberman said he was in touch with “moderate” Arabs - a term Israelis often use for Sunni states in the Gulf and elsewhere in the Middle East that align with U.S. interests. He also said he would have no problem visiting Saudi Arabia or Kuwait.
 
“I have spent more than a few years of meetings and talks with them. As far as they are concerned, there is only one red rag [flag] and that is Iran,” he said.
 
A spokesman for Saudi Arabia's Foreign Ministry said: “There are no ties or talks with Israel at any level.” In Kuwait, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Khaled al-Jarallah said: “It is not true, we don't have these kind of talks.”
 
Full relations
 
Yedioth paraphrased Lieberman as saying some new Israeli-Arab peace accords would be signed in 2019.
 
“I'm certain that by then we will have a situation in which we have full diplomatic relations with most of the moderate Arab states. And you can count on my word,” he said.
 
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has long hinted that Israel and the Gulf states share a similar goal in halting Iran's nuclear program, saying they all saw a mortal threat in its ambitious atomic drive.
 
Iran denies that it is planning to build nuclear weapons.
 
Senior Israeli officials have also said that like themselves, moderate Sunni states are worried that Washington was not taking a tough enough line with Tehran.
 
However, analysts have scoffed at the idea that ties between Israel and much of the Arab world could be normalized while the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remained unresolved.
 
U.S.-brokered peace talks between the two are floundering, with no indication that a resolution is anywhere in sight.
 
“To Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, the cost of open relations with Israel at this time may be higher than the benefit, given the position of the Arab street,” Israeli think tank, the Institute for National Security Studies, said in a report in December.
 
Lieberman, who has worked hard in recent months to soften his hardline international image, suggested Arab nations were as eager as Israel to be open about their shared interests.
 
“I think that they too are stewing in their own juice and reaching an awareness that there will be no choice but to move from the secret stage of the dialogue between us to the open stage of the talks,” he said.

You May Like

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
April 14, 2014 12:53 PM
This is a sham, a ruse, there is no truth in it whatsoever. Lieberman may be routing for something more than is reported here. He may be trying to nip the idea in the bud - if anything of such is being tinkered within Israel cabinet or the Knesset, or it could be so that Iran hastens up with better and more compromise than it has been willing to yield under the ongoing nuclear deal with the world powers. Even then, it is a very bad trump card to play. It is too open and too glaring for everyone to see through that Arab states will ever want to share anything with Israel under any guise of threat.

On the other hand, Israel should understand that no relationship with any Arab country will work. After seeing the fiasco of such trials with Turkey, Israel should know better than toy with another friendship that will only spell more disaster for the country. Surely the world would welcome such relations, if it ever can work out, with wide open hands, with the exception of those in Europe who have invested so much resources to see to the engraved enmity between the two neighbors (Israel and the Arabs) for obvious gains they make from it, but it would be another very important source of ensuring greater world peace as partial elimination of the taproot of disunity and terrorism in the world. For then the Saudis would have to limit - if not totally eliminate - the sponsorship and support to al qaida and other sunni islamic terrorist cells, thus putting more pressure on Iran to either drop its extremist stand or face the whole world alone.

by: Dr. Hans from: Germany
April 14, 2014 12:13 PM
well this is not surprising... the Arabs have - finally - understood that they are all dead if the Iranian Mullahs are to have their way with them... they see what Hizbullah is doing to the Syrian Arabs, to the Lebanese Arabs... and they know that without a strong Israel - they are all dead. No one trusts the US anymore...

by: meanbill from: USA
April 14, 2014 12:07 PM
Israel needs those landing fields in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Kuwait, to land and refuel and rearm their warplanes if Iran, Syria, Iraq, and other Arab countries attacked Israel, and damaged or destroyed their less than 50 airfields.. --- Where could the Israel warplanes go, if all the Israel warplanes where in the air, but they had no airfield to rearm and refuel? --- They can't land on US aircraft carriers, but could refuel in the air, but they couldn't rearm them in the air, could they?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs