TEL AVIV – Israel and Saudi Arabia are engaged in covert ties – the result of mutual interests between the countries – according to an analysis in the Jerusalem Post.
The article, published Tuesday, cited a series of events that indicate ongoing contacts between the Kingdom and the Jewish state, starting with Israel’s approval of the Red Sea deal between Saudi Arabia and Egypt, in which the latter will return the islands of Sanafir and Tiran to the Saudis.
According to Yossi Melman, the author of the article and a journalist specializing in security and intelligence affairs, the Egypt-Saudi deal “is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the secret processes taking place behind the scenes.”
Despite the lack of formal relations, Melman writes that the two countries have third-party economic ties including covert imports to Saudi Arabia of Israeli agricultural and technological goods.
Melman, quoting foreign reports, expounds on a history of clandestine meetings between senior Israeli and Saudi officials, including former Mossad chief Meir Dagan, who met with members of the Saudi intelligence apparatus. Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is also said to have met with a number of Saudi officials, including Prince Bander bin Sultan, then the Saudi envoy to Washington, head of the National Security Council, and chief of Saudi intelligence.
Melman cites the Iranian threat as the chief common denominator binding the two countries together. The Saudis have allegedly given Jerusalem the thumbs up to enter their airspace should Israel choose to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.
“The Saudis hoped that Israel would do their dirty work for them and were disappointed when it didn’t happen,” writes Melman.
However, Melman is quick to note that such cooperation is unlikely to come to the surface any time soon, “at least not until there is a Palestinian state and and the House of Saud can wave its flag from the mosques on the Temple Mount.”