‘Major Arab Countries are Changing Their View of Israel’, says Netanyahu

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Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu met a visiting Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations leadership delegation in Jerusalem on Sunday and said, “Major Arab countries “are changing their view of Israel.”

“They don’t see Israel anymore as their enemy, but they see Israel as their ally, especially in the battle against militant Islam with its two fountainheads: the militant Islamists led by Iran, and the militant Islamists led by Daesh (Islamic State),” Netanyahu said, adding, “This is something that is forging new ties, many of them discreet, some of them open.”

Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said at the Munich Security Conference on Sunday, “We have channels to talk with our Arab neighbors, the Sunni states…not just Jordan and Egypt, with which we have peace, the Gulf states and North African states too. The situation is sensitive. We cannot even shake hands in public.”

After the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Israel was subjected to Arab League boycotts and attempts to diplomatically isolate the state. Today, Israel has diplomatic ties with 157 out of the other 192 member states of the United Nations as well as with non-member Holy See (Vatican City) and the European Union.

Some states recognize Israel as a state, but have no diplomatic relations. Several countries once had diplomatic relations with Israel, but have since broken or suspended them (Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela in Latin America; Mauritania in the Arab League; Chad, Guinea, Mali and Niger in non-Arab Africa; and Iran until the Islamic revolution).

Some of these countries have since resumed relations. In addition, a number of countries (all members of the Arab League) that at one time had formal economic ties (primarily trade offices) with Israel that fell short of full diplomatic relations, have severed such ties (Bahrain, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Tunisia).

At present, a total of 32 United Nations member states do not recognize or generally / partially do not maintain diplomatic relations with the State of Israel: 18 of the 21 UN members in the Arab League: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen (the exceptions are Egypt, Jordan and Mauritania); a further 11 members of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Chad, Guinea, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Mali, Niger, and Pakistan; and Bhutan, Cuba, and North Korea.

Some of these countries accept Israeli passports and acknowledge other indications of Israeli sovereignty.