It's Complicated: Trust Issues Remain Between Israel and Arab States

Published October 11th, 2017 - 07:14 GMT
Trust issues remain between Israel and Arab states (AFP)
Trust issues remain between Israel and Arab states (AFP)
  • Relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors appear to have warmed up in recent months
  • Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el Sisi was pictured joking with Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu
  • However, reports claim that Israel is fuming as Egypt has yet to share information about the ongoing Palestinian talks
  • Sources claim that Israel has raised the issue with the U.S. amid questions about trust levels between Israel and its partners

Despite outward signs that relations between Egypt and Israel are warming in recent months, it appears that the two countries have some way to go before full trust can be established.

Cairo has become a key player in brokering a truce between the Hamas leadership in Gaza and the Fattah movement in the West Bank.

The discussions are seen by many as a possible precursor to re-opening talks on a two-state solution with Israel.

On the surface relations between Israel and Egypt seem better than at any time in recent history.

Last month Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi stirred controversy when he was snapped shaking hands with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

The pair appeared cordial as they laughed and joked together.

However, it seems that despite outward appearances Egypt and Israel have a far more complicated relationship when it comes to sharing intel.

The Atlas Center for Israeli studies claims that the Egyptian side had ruffled feathers by not sharing intelligence with the Israelis about the ongoing Palestinian reconciliation talks.

“Israel went to the United States to complain about Egypt because it wanted to know what was going on in Cairo, Ramallah, and Gaza, and it was not ready to blindly trust Egypt,” said the Atlas Center for Israeli Studies.

Next week  Jason Greenblatt, President Trump’s special envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations issues, will arrive in the Egyptian capital to clarify “where the Egyptian president is leading the talks and what his goals are,” according to Middle East Monitor.

Despite this, some in Israel believe that many Arab countries - including sworn enemies of the Zionist state - are secretly holding backroom talks with Tel Aviv away from public eyes.

Yossi Melman, a military analyst at Israeli newspaper Maariv believes that many Arab states are a lot closer to Israel than they would have their citizens believe.

Writing in the newspaper, he added that these countries are concealing these relations and consider it very dangerous to expose and reveal their activities with Israel.

He went on to use the example of Egypt’s relations with Israel over the fight against ISIS-linked militants in the Sinai region.

Melman claims that Israeli military intelligence is providing information about the activities of militants in Sinai and are even helping Cairo field attacks on Egyptian soil.

However, it remains unclear how reciprocal the relationship between the two countries is in reality.

Melman also pointed to attempts to hide security relations between Israel and Abu Dhabi in recent years as proof of the complex nature of Israeli-Arab relations in recent times.

Many Gulf states have also grown closer to Israel in targeting the Iranian regime over its nuclear program.

Earlier this year, Netanyahu hailed the country’s "breakthrough" in its ties with Arab states, claiming "many levels of cooperation" exist that cannot yet be exposed to the public.

“What is actually happening with [the Arab states] has never happened in our history, even when we signed agreements,” he told diplomats at a Jewish New Year gathering in Jerusalem, according to media reports.

How strong these relationships are in reality may only become apparent in time.

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