Diplomacy

Report: Egypt, Saudi Arabia Seeking to Encourage Arab Economic Ties to Israel

The leaders of Egypt and Saudi Arabia are reportedly working together to convince Arab states to initiate a fresh start with Israel and develop economic relations with the Jewish State in accordance with the yet-to-be released peace plan of the Trump administration, The Jerusalem Post reported Thursday.

According to a report in the UK-based Arabic newspaper, Al-Arabi Al-Jadid, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who met Monday in Cairo, are trying to persuade as many Arab nations as possible to seek normalization with Israel, “or at the very least, a state of no war.”

Egyptian sources, quoted in the account reported by The Jewish Press, said the two leaders discussed the possibility “as part of a broader effort to promote acceptance of US President Donald Trump’s so-called Deal of the Century,” which the Palestinian leadership has boycotted from the outset. Sisi and bin Salman, the sources said, want to increase pressure on Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas to accept the deal.

According to the report, Egypt proposed a summit to be held with Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority to discuss the United States peace initiative. The two leaders also discussed a possible formation of a quartet of Middle Eastern Arabic states, consisting of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the Palestinian Authority – a proposal Abbas has rejected in the past as he fears the PA would be pressured into making concessions.

The U.S. Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, said last week that “The United States remains committed to sharing its vision for peace with Israel, the Palestinians and other regional and international stakeholders at the appropriate time.”

He added that, “Our timing, our strategy and our messaging is and will be entirely our own. We intend to release the President’s vision when the Administration concludes that we have maximized its potential for acceptance, execution and implementation.”

There have been several significant developments in increased ties between Arab and Muslim states with Israel this week. On Sunday, the President of Chad, Idriss Déby, landed in Israel for a surprise visit and said he hoped for a “new chapter” in ties between the two countries. The Muslim-majority African state and Israel have not had diplomatic relations for the last 46 years.

Furthermore, Oman for the second time called on Arab states to accept Israel as a player in the region, after the sultanate first called for the recognition of the Jewish State following Netanyahu’s historic visit to Muscat in October.