Published: Mon, November 20, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Israeli minister reveals contacts with Saudi Arabia 'to curb Iran'

Israeli minister reveals contacts with Saudi Arabia 'to curb Iran'

Israel's Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Saturday called on the Arab world to normalize ties with the Jewish state and to present a united front against Iran's belligerence in the region.

"There's an opportunity to form a new global coalition in the region with President Trump", Eisenkot added.

An Israeli cabinet minister said on Sunday that Israel has had covert contacts with Saudi Arabia amid common concerns over Iran, a first disclosure by a senior official from either country of long-rumoured secret dealings.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has boasted about growing cooperation between Israel and Arab nations it does not have diplomatic relations with, especially regarding Iran. "We are willing to exchange information with moderate Arab countries, including intelligence information, in order to deal with Iran".

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While Israel and Saudi Arabia do not have diplomatic relations, they have been edging closer recently, including a visit previous year by a retired Saudi general heading a delegation seeking to encourage better relations.

"The Middle East needs, more than anything else, a coalition of moderate countries against Iran". "Generally, the other side wants to hide these ties..."

According to Israel's Army, it was the first interview of its kind since 2005. Tel Aviv is seeking rapprochement with Riyadh on the basis of common interests and coinciding threats, despite the fact that the two states have no diplomatic relations and that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is far from being resolved.

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot seen at a ceremony for the incoming new IDF Technology and Logistics Directorate head Brigadier General Aharon haLiva, who replaced Brigadier General Kobi Barak.

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That plan makes those relations contingent on a full withdrawal by Israel from territory it captured in the 1967 Middle East war, including East Jerusalem. He also noted that Israel and Saudi Arabia have never fought each other.

Saudi Arabia has ratcheted up pressure on arch-foe Iran, accusing Tehran of trying to expand its influence in Arab countries, often through proxies including the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah group.

In 2016, former Saudi general Anwar Eshki visited Israel, where he met Israeli legislators, to promote - as he has at various academic forums - the Saudi peace initiative.

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