Are Israel and the Sunni Arab states on the threshold of a breakthrough to mutual recognition and the start of cooperation on security matters?
Senior sources in the government in Yerushalayim revealed on Thursday that the talks with Isaac Herzog about joining a unity government were accelerated by the emergence of a secret plan for recognition of Israel presented by six moderate Arab states.
According to the sources, the representatives of those Sunni states persuaded Herzog of the seriousness of their intentions, and this was the main reason he changed course and decided to seek a unity government, on condition that he would be responsible for moving the plan forward.
Most of the heads of the states in question are young leaders who are fearful of the spreading Iranian influence in the Mideast, and decided therefore to express their willingness to work with Israel on security, along with a proposal for a reasonable solution to the Palestinian problem.
These sources were disappointed that Herzog did not join in the end. They explained that Netanyahu and other ministers argued that with or without Herzog they would continue to explore the Sunni option. The addition of Liberman to the government as Defense Minister should pose no impediment, and he has already been briefed on the matter.
Deputy Minister for Regional Cooperation MK Ayub Kara disclosed on Thursday night to the deputy foreign minister of Azerbaijan, Araz Azimov, who is visiting in Israel, that the coalition of the six states led by Saudi Arabia are prepared to sign on a regional defense accord. But, he added, that to his regret, the west is blocking the proposal and is raising fresh demands for an agreement with the Palestinians. Otherwise, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would have made visits to the Gulf States some time ago, he said.