Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said he is seeking a “non-aggression” pact with Arab Gulf states in a tweet on Sunday. Katz said he presented the plan to Gulf leaders during the UN General Assembly in New York in September, he did not specify which leaders he spoke with.
“Recently, I have been promoting, under the backing of the United States, a political initiative to sign ‘non-aggression agreements’ with the Arab Gulf states,” Katz said on Twitter. “The historic move will put an end to the conflict and allow civilian cooperation until peace agreements are signed.”
Out of the 22 Arab nations in the Middle East and North Africa, only Egypt and Jordan formally recognize Israel as a country. The occupation of Palestinian land is a major roadblock for any sort of peace deal between Israel and the Arab Gulf states but being common enemies of Iran may be enough to foster cooperation in the form of a “non-aggression” agreement.
On September 14th, the Houthis took credit for an attack on Saudi oil facilities that crippled the kingdom’s oil output. Both the U.S. and Saudi Arabia were quick to blame the attack on Iran, despite having no evidence. Hawks in the U.S. government called on President Trump to attack Iran on behalf of Saudi Arabia; instead he imposed more sanctions.
Recent reports suggest the Saudis may participate in some indirect talks with Iran, most likely due to Trump’s unwillingness to go to war with Iran. This announcement from Katz could sabotage these talks.