Alwaght- The pattern of developments in West Asia and North Africa regions is moving in a way that it exposes more and more the Arab rulers’ efforts to expand ties with the Israeli regime openly and secretly and even normalize diplomatic ties with Tel Aviv.
Almost two weeks ago, on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference Moshe Ya’alon, the Israeli defense minister and Turki bin Faisal Al Saud, the former chief of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence service shook hands in front of the cameras. To date, the Israeli defense minister has been the first Israeli official to openly shake hands with a Saudi Arabian official. Making a speech on the sidelines of the Munich Conference, Ya’alon has highlighted the relations between Tel Aviv and Riyadh, saying that there were channels for agreement and understanding between the Israeli regime and the Arab countries. The defense minister has also continued that there were visits being made behind the closed doors between the two sides. According to the Israeli minster, the visits were not confined to Egypt and Jordan with both of which the Israeli regime had signed security accords. “By my words, I further mean the Persian Gulf Arab states as well as the North African countries,” Ya’alon added. “They are not present here to hear my words. They do not openly shake hands with us, however, we meet with them behind the closed doors,” maintained the Israeli defense minister.
Less than two weeks after the Munich meeting between the two officials, the issue of diplomatic ties with the Israeli regime has sparked a controversy in the Arab world. In Egypt, where the Israeli regime officials meet openly and secretly with the Egyptian figures, Tawfik Okasha, an Egyptian member of parliament, has received Haim Koren, the Israeli Ambassador to Egypt, at his home. The meeting has drawn tough reactions both in the country’s parliament and on the media. In response, Kamal Ahmed, also an Egyptian lawmaker has thrown his shoe at Okasha. As a result, both of them were driven out of the parliament’s hall. As the backlash continued unfolding and due to the severe opposition, Okasha’s membership was cancelled in the Egyptian parliament so the authorities could launch further investigation into the case, although it does not seem that cancelation of the Egyptian lawmaker’s membership would leave impacts on the efforts seeking normalization of diplomatic ties between Cairo and Tel Aviv.
A little away from Egypt in Tunisia, the country’s parliament is busy discussing normalization of diplomatic ties with the Israeli regime. The recent published reports suggest that Tunisia’s Ministry of Development and Investment has recently reached an agreement with the Italian company ASL which is active in ethanol production. The Italian company is a branch of an Israeli company which specializes in the production of the renewable energies. The normalization of relations has seen such a development in Tunisia that in recent months some lawmakers have tried to introduce a new article to the constitution to criminalize any motion for normalization of ties with Tel Aviv, but so far they have failed to do so.
It seems that new rulers’ takeover of power in Saudi Arabia has paved the way, more than ever, for closer relations between Riyadh and Tel Aviv. The Israeli regime is also attempting to use the conditions as a window to get close to the other Arab states.