It’s long been speculated that Israel and Saudi Arabia, who officially have no relations, have been engaged in convert contacts, particularly as it relates to heir mutual hostility toward Iran, and their interests in getting the US sucked into a conflict with the Iranians.
Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, however, appears to have decided he was the one to make the contacts a confirmed fact, confirming Sunday that Israel has “partly covert” ties with many Arab countries, and that the other countries are the ones who want to keep that fact a secret. Saudi Arabia was the only country he named specifically.
Neither Israeli nor Saudi officials appear to have been willing to comment directly on this disclosure so far, but Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir said last week that any relationship with Israel was contingent on progress in peace with the Palestinians.
Which is a key reason nations like Saudi Arabia don’t want their Israel ties public. Israel is extremely unpopular across the Arab world, in great measure because of their treatment of the Palestinians, and while it wouldn’t be a surprise that Saudi Arabia’s priority is hostility toward Iran rather than peace in Palestine, it’s also not the sort of thing they’d likely want to admit.