Israeli-Saudi covert normalization comes to light
Following years of secret visits, business deals, and 'security' agreements seeking to destabilize the axis of resistance in the region, "Israel" finally publicizes its normalized ties with Riyadh and other Arab nations.
In an article by Israel Hayom, it has been revealed that Israeli envoys visited Riyadh several times throughout a period of time that extends for over a decade now. However, these visits have always been kept secret, but according to the Israeli newspaper, they can now be revealed.
No longer a secret
There has been one exception to the secret visits and that is Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit in November of 2020 to the Red Sea city of Neom, which was widely yet carefully publicized, where he met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS).
Previously, Israeli security minister Benny Gantz had visited Saudi Arabia as chief of staff, while Aluf Meir Dagan, Tamir Pardo, and Yossi Cohen arrived as heads of Mossad and Ben Shabbat as head of the National Security Council. The purpose of the visit was to develop security coordination, especially against Iran. Netanyahu, as did most Israeli officials, had flown to SA in a private plane especially leased for this occasion. At the time, it was business contacts that have matured into political, military, and security deals.
The Neom meeting was coordinated by the former head of Mossad, Yossi Cohen, whose two predecessors had also visited Saudi Arabia in previous years. Meetings were not uniquely held by higher levels of institutions, but also by lower levels such as the “world” division which handles international relations with countries which “Israel” has diplomatic relations with, as well as those with secret relations similar to Saudi Arabia.
Gantz, previously chief of staff for the IOF and currently the Security Minister and Deputy PM of “Israel” since 2020, had visited Saudi Arabia on multiple occasions. The main goal of these meetings is to strengthen security coordination against Iran and Ansar Allah in Yemen.
Furthermore, Saudi Arabia was not the only country in the region that maintained relations with “Israel” in secret. Various publications revealed that the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain also had secret relations with “Israel” prior to the public normalization of ties.
The elimination and the turnaround
Israel Hayom stated that SA was seeking to take advantage of Israeli technological advancements. Various publications showed that Cohen, as head of Mossad, opened the door for NSO to sell its spyware, Pegasus, to the Saudis. Saudi Arabia then obtained cyber capabilities from additional Israeli firms, some directly and others through subcontracts with several foreign firms.
Subsequently, based on the Israeli newspaper, Saudi Arabia’s use of the NSO had made news headlines following the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey in 2018. Despite NSO’s continuous denial of the information, a series of publications show that the follow-up of the journalist was conducted through the usage of NSO technologies.
“Israel” has been similarly accused of encouraging the sale of advanced spyware technologies to repressive and undemocratic regimes that have used them to track down political opponents, human rights activists, and journalists.
Efforts to tighten the hinge
Next month, US President Joe Biden will visit Riyadh succeeding his visit to "Israel". MbS, a key figure in Saudi relations with “Israel”, viewed the occupation regime as a stabilizing factor in the region. Bin Salman had been "the best man" for developing relations between the two regimes, said Hayom.
“Israel” has continuously been interested in advancing its relations with Saudi Arabia. The major reason for this is the security coordination policy against Iran, aiming to target and weaken the axis of resistance which has given the Palestinians, over the years, more power.