WikiLeaks exposes Saudi-Israeli ties
Freshly- released WikiLeaks documents have uncovered a deep alliance between Israel and Saudi Arabia, reportedly affecting Riyadh's ties with regional states.
One of the cables dispatched from Tel Aviv on March 2009, refers to a meeting between US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman and Israeli Foreign Ministry's Deputy Director General for Middle East Yacov Hadas-Handelsman, Egyptian daily al-Masry al-Youm reported Tuesday.
The meeting, which involved other high-ranking Israeli officials, evolved around Tel Aviv's relations with Persian Gulf nations and the situation in Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Iran.
At one point Hadas admitted to having secret communications with Saudi Arabia through various channels.
The Israeli official then added that relations between Qatar and Israel were even affected Doha's belief that Tel Aviv maintains secret and powerful ties with Riyadh.
“Of course, indirect forms of communication through third parties happen all the time in diplomacy… so it can happen through Egypt, Jordan or the US,” the head of the London-based Gulf Strategic Studies Center, Omar Hassan, said.
Saudi Arabia has always been cautious not to have any direct and open communication or ties with Israel due to its position in the Muslim world.
However, in 2002, Saudi Arabia extended an initiative that it would normalize relations with Israel in exchange for an Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders and an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The initiative was reaffirmed in 2007, but no headway has been made in that regard.
WikeLeaks cables also underline that despite the recent regional developments, Israel continues to enjoy steady ties with Arab nations.
Meanwhile, the secret documents have unraveled Israel's deep fear of Iran's growing influence in the region, by pointing at Tel Aviv's direct support for anti-Tehran positions held by the United Arabs Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt (before the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak).