Photo’s source: arabnews.com
On March 28th, 2022, the foreign ministers of Israel, US, and four Arab nations committed to expand economic and diplomatic cooperation in an unprecedented meeting in Israel’s southern Negev desert.
The presence of the diplomats from the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, and Egypt on Israeli soil showed a new level of cooperation between Israel and its Arab neighbors even though the parties did not sign any agreements or specific policies.
The spokesman of Egypt’s Foreign Ministry, Ahmed Hafez, wrote on twitter that Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry had a meeting with Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid in a closed session before the Negev Summit.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry’s Arabic Twitter account said the recent peace deals signed with the UAE, Morocco, and Bahrain herald “a better tomorrow for the peoples of the region.”
The Twitter account published a video of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s statements welcoming the summit’s participants.
“In the Middle East, there are those who create violence and backwardness, and on the other hand, there are those who push for cooperation, prosperity, and peace” he said. “The realization is growing in the Arab world that Israel stands, and always has, in the trench of peace and cooperation”.
Bennett described the summit as “a very festive and influential day” saying Israel is cultivating old ties and building new bridges.
“While we are talking about peace, there are parties that do not stop fanning the flames of war. And we got another reminder of that when the Houthis, acting as a proxy for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, launched an attack targeting Saudi Arabia” he added.
The summit took place five days after a meeting in Sharm El-Sheikh between the leaders of Egypt, Israel, and the UAE, and two days after a summit in Aqaba that brought together Egypt’s president, Jordan’s king, the UAE crown prince, and Iraq’s prime minister.
On March 28th, the Israeli foreign minister Lapid talked with his US counterpart Antony Blinken, and discussed about the Iranian nuclear issue and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Lapid said: “Iran is not an Israeli problem, as the entire world cannot afford Iran to become a nuclear power. We will take all possible actions to confront the danger of Iran’s nuclear program.” He said that Israel will cooperate with US to avoid that Iran will not have nuclear weapons.
The Palestinians were not invited to the summit, despite their ongoing occupation at the hands of Israel being a central feature of Arab-Israeli relations for the last 50 years.
A parallel meeting on Monday was scheduled between Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who has criticized the summit as a “harsh attack on Palestinians.” Abbas and other Palestinian leaders have long opposed the normalization agreements between Arab states and Israel as a means of relegating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the back burner.
Saeed Khatibzadeh, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman condemned the Israeli’s meeting in “occupied Palestine” and called it a betrayal to the Palestinian liberation cause.
On March 28th, Khatibzadeh condemned the meeting of diplomats from Israel, the US and four Arab states held in “the occupied lands” of Palestine controlled by Israel. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian recently declared in an interview that while pursuing the development of cooperation with neighboring countries and the region as a priority with good faith and seriousness, Iran always warn of any kind of normalization of small relations between neighboring countries and the Israel.
This article was edited using the data from the Aljazeera.com, Washingtonpost.com Arabnews.com, Bbc.com, and En.mehrnews.com