The Middle East Weekly Review: Israel offers diplomatic relations to Persian Gulf states


Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman this week offered “full diplomatic relations with the Persian Gulf states” in the context of a regional peace deal involving the Palestinians.

Although he didn’t give many details, Liberman stated: “Just think about Israel’s technological and scientific know-how joining forces with the Saudi and Gulf financial powerhouses. But the Arab world must come around and understand that it needs to come out of the closet and start talking to us out in the open. I am talking about full diplomatic and commercial ties. The Palestinian problem could be resolved, as could our problem with Arab Israelis.”

Liberman’s initiative taps into a constituency and rationale in Israel for a regionally-based peace effort.

He also stated that such initiative was firstly brought toward by the Arab League about 12 years ago, but it is sitting in the government’s doorstep. Moreover, he claimed that the Israeli soldiers fighting terrorists who don’t recognise their right to a state, are not war criminals.


However, it has been explained that Liberman’s star turn as peace visionary may be motivated as much by Israeli domestic politics and the Iranian threat as it is by notions of a “new Middle East.”

Another important reason behind this initiative may be the fact that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanayhu faces a potential governing crisis over his handling of the Palestinian unity agreement and Israel’s sinking ties with the United States. Thus, Liberman may be trying to claim the political center for his eventual own bid for the top job.


However, Liberman forgot to take into consideration one thing, which may a vital one. “Liberman ignored one other issue: to wit, that these so-called ‘moderate states’ on which he is pinning his hopes are playing a double game. Their ‘moderateness’ notwithstanding, they also fund jihadist organizations such as ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) — a radical Islamic terrorist group that is leading the jihadist forces in the revolt against Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president. Inflaming the spirit of radical Islam, these groups are very prevalent across the Middle East, with ISIS being the most prominent among them. Hundreds of Muslim-European volunteers flock to them, training and joining the bloody war in Syria (or terrorist activities elsewhere). Should they survive, they go back home. Someone has to explain to the ‘moderates’ in the Persian Gulf that fighting Assad cannot justify sliding into terrorism and jihad. Growing to full size, these monsters tend to set themselves free, becoming uncontrollable by that point.”


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