Analysis Saudi Proposal to Israel Could Be the Stuff of Trump’s Dream Deal in Mideast

Arab media’s silence following reports of Saudi Arabia and Gulf States’ plans for normalization with Israel suggests solid foundations. Its timing arises from the common interests of Arab leaders and Israel’s right wing

Zvi Bar’el May 20, 2017
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A silence fell on Arab media outlets after publication of a report about the Gulf States’ plan for partial normalization with Israel. No official response by Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States or Qatar was heard. The regular pundits preferred to deal with other matters, as if they had neither heard nor seen the scoop in the Wall Street Journal. The usual government spokespeople in Israel were also apparently struck by a condition affecting the vocal chords.
When similar reports emerged in the past, official spokesmen, Arab and Israeli alike, would quickly issue a denial. But this time there were no denials either. That suggests that there is a solid foundation to the principles of the proposal – at least between Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.

On Tuesday, the last details were apparently hammered out between the U.A.E.’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and U.S. President Donald Trump in their meeting in Washington after Trump’s earlier meeting with Mohammed bin Salman, the 31-year-old son of the Saudi king and the de facto ruler of the kingdom.
The three anchors of the new agreement rest on the granting of permits to Israeli businesses to open branches in the Gulf States, for Israeli aircraft to fly through U.A.E. airspace, and for the installation of direct telephone lines between the two countries. This is still not the full normalization that was promised in the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative or its detailed ratification at the Arab summit in April in Jordan.
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