Israel’s minister for intelligence and transport, Yisrael Katz, will be in Oman today for an international transportation conference. His visit comes just days after a surprise meeting between Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Oman’s Sultan Qaboos in Muscat—the first such meeting in over 20 years.
Indeed, Israel has campaigned to strengthen with the Gulf Arab states over the past four years, particularly Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Such a move is being driven by mutual hostility towards Iran and Iranian-backed groups throughout the Middle East.
In keeping with this trend, Katz is expected to promote the “Regional Tracks Peace” program at today’s conference. The proposal would link the northern Israeli city of Haifa to Jordan’s rail network, which in turn would connect to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries.
While Katz has touted the plan as being backed by “economic and strategic logic”, critics suggest it’s an attempt to strangle any chance of a Palestinian homeland by courting Arab states and inextricably linking the West Bank to a rail network dominated by Israel.
This ambitious proposal is being championed by an even more ambitious man. Speculation is rife that Mr Katz is priming himself to succeed PM Netanyahu by appealing to the right-wing of Israeli politics. Watch this space.
Wake up smarter with an assessment of the stories that will make headlines in the next 24 hours. Download The Daily Brief.
Simon is the founder of Foreign Brief who served as managing director from 2015 to 2021. A lawyer by training, Simon has worked as an analyst and adviser in the private sector and government. Simon’s desire to help clients understand global developments in a contextualised way underpinned the establishment of Foreign Brief. This aspiration remains the organisation’s driving principle.