Saudi Arabia and Israel have secretly reached an estimated $250-million deal, which includes supplying the kingdom with Israeli espionage technologies, a report says.
The deal was reached after secret meetings held between Saudi and Israeli officials in Washington and London through a European mediator, Israel’s Jerusalem Post daily reported, citing the UAE’s news website Al-Khaleej.
“Some of the spy systems, which are the most sophisticated systems Israel has ever sold to any Arab country, have already been transferred to Saudi Arabia and put into use after a Saudi technical team received training in operating them,” the Post said.
The two sides also exchanged strategic military information in the meetings, the paper said without elaboration.
The military cooperation is not the first of its kind between Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Al-Khaleej reported last month that Riyadh had purchased the Iron Dome missile system from Tel Aviv under US mediation, with secret meetings held in Washington.
The deal included further plans to reach an agreement on broad military cooperation between the two regimes, the report said.
Israel and Saudi Arabia have no diplomatic relations, but they are widely believed to have secret liaisons. Latest reports say the two regimes are working behind the scenes to establish formal contact.
Critics say Saudi Arabia’s flirtation with Israel would undermine global efforts to isolate Tel Aviv and affect the Palestinian cause in general. They say Riyadh has gone too far in its cooperation with Tel Aviv which the kingdom is portraying in the context of deterring Iran.
Reports of numerous Israeli contacts with Arab states come in the midst of global attention to the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
While the murder has drawn international condemnation, the Israeli regime has notably been reticent. Israel has instead announced first ever visits by its leaders to the Persian Gulf which has taken the world by surprise and overshadowed the murder case.
On Saturday, Israel broke the news of a secret visit by prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Oman with a delegation of senior officials, including Mossad chief, and his meeting with the Persian Gulf sultanate’s leaders.
Israeli intelligence minister Yisrael Katz’s office also said on Sunday that he will visit Oman next week, while Israel’s television broadcast images of the regime’s sports minister Miri Regev in the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi attending a tournament.
Meanwhile, an Israeli sports delegation was in Qatar for the beginning of the world gymnastics championships being held in Doha.
Israeli communications minister Ayoob Kara’s office said he will travel to Dubai on Monday to represent Israel at an international internet security conference.