Foreign Ministers from five Arab League countries, along with the US Secretary of State, are holding a historic meeting in Israel today, Monday, March 28, 2022.
It is the first time the Ministers from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Morocco and Bahrain will meet their Israeli Counterpart in his home country. This came after they normalised relations with Israel for the first time during the past year-and-a-half.
Moreover, Egypt and Sudan, which has an already established cordial relationship with Israel will also be joining the talks by through their Ministers. Egypt is the first Arab country to make peace with Israel, in 1979. Afterwards, relations between them has always been cordial.
The six top Diplomats arrived on Sunday, March 27, 2022 at a hotel in Sde Boker in the Negev Desert in Southern Israel and are holding talks today, Monday, March 28, 2022.
The Breakdown of the Summit
The summit coincides with a tour of the Region by US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken. He is visiting Israel, the West Bank, Morocco and Algeria on a five-day trip for talks on issues including Russia’s war on Ukraine, tensions with Iran and the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Mr. Blinken met Israeli Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, in Jerusalem and Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, in the West Bank City of Ramallah. On Monday, March 28, 2022, Mr. Bennett’s Spokesperson disclosed that the Prime Minister tested positive for coronavirus after meeting Mr. Blinken.
The Israel-US talks come at a time of growing Israeli fears that the US is on the brink of signing a new agreement with Iran to curb its nuclear programme in return for an end to lifting US-led sanctions.
Former US President, Donald Trump, pulled out of a 2015 global nuclear deal with Iran and restored sanctions in a move which led Iran to significantly advance its nuclear activities which was barred by the accord.
Israel said it believes a new deal will be weaker than the previous one and will enable Iran to intensify its military activities across the Region. Israel also fears that the US might remove Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) from its list of terrorist groups as part of a new nuclear deal.
The IRGC, is alleged, to have helped in sustaining the wars in Syria and Yemen and bolstered anti-Israel militant groups in Gaza, Lebanon and Syria.
Mr. Blinken has also taken a different approach to the Israel-Palestinian issue to Mr. Bennett. It is alleged that Mr. Blinken supports the idea of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, something resolutely rejected by the Israeli Prime Minister.
Talks will also focus on Russia’s invasion on Ukraine, with Israel having taken a lead role as a mediator in the conflict.
Israel has good relations with both Ukraine and Russia, and Mr. Bennett has held several face-to-face meetings and telephone conversations with Russian President, Vladimir Putin, as part of efforts to end the month-long war in Ukraine.
The View of Palestinian Leader
Meanwhile, Palestinian Prime Minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh has criticized the summit, saying that such gatherings were a “free reward” to Israel.
Speaking at the opening session of his cabinet meeting, Shtayyeh said Arab normalization meetings with Israel without ending the Israeli occupation were just “illusion and mirage”.