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Saudi Arabia reaching out to Israel

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    USA Today says Saudi Arabia is leading outreach campaign to Israel in bid to dent Iranian influence in Middle East Saudi Arabia reaching out to Israel 02.12.07
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 2 8:02 AM
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      USA Today says Saudi Arabia is leading outreach campaign to Israel in
      bid to dent Iranian influence in Middle East


      Saudi Arabia reaching out to Israel
      02.12.07
      Ynet: Israel News
      http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3363991,00.html


      Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have been sending overtures to
      Israel and US Jews in a campaign aimed at countering Iran 's rising
      sway in the region and denting its nuclear program, USA Today reported
      Monday.

      Saudi Arabia is keen on shoring up its influence in the Middle East by
      brokering a unity deal between rival Palestinian factions and defusing
      tensions between the Hizbullah-led opposition and the western-backed
      government in Lebanon. Preventing Iraq from sliding into an all-out
      civil war is also on the agenda.

      The most evident sign of rapprochement came in the form of the
      attendance of Saudi Arabia's outgoing ambassador to the US to a
      ceremony in Washington held by American Jewish organizations in honor
      of a State Department official appointed to fight anti-Semitism.

      William Daroff of the United Jewish Communities told USA Today that
      Prince Turki al-Faisal's presence at the reception was "unprecedented."

      The paper reported that Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates have made
      similar outreach gestures towards Israel and American Jews.

      US blessing

      The overtures have been blessed by the US Secretary of State
      Condoleezza Rice who has said that six Gulf states, alongside Egypt,
      Jordan and Israel form a new moderate alignment to counter Iran and
      Syria, whom Washington accuses of supporting extremist groups like
      Hizbullah and Hamas.

      Jamal Kashoggi, an aide to Prince Turki, told USA Today that the
      overtures were part of efforts to revive the long-stalled peace
      process between Israel and the Palestinians.


      Judith Kipper, a Middle East expert at the Council on Foreign
      Relations, told USA Today, "What really concerns pro-US Arab states is
      that Iran is setting the political agenda in the region."

      Clandestine contacts between Israel and Gulf states were reported
      decades ago but have never been so public.

      Vice Premier Shimon Peres met with the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin
      Khalifa al-Tani after holding a televised debate with Qatari students
      in Doha.


      In September last year it was reported that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
      met with Saudi National Security Advisor Bandar bin Sultan in Jordan.

      The United Arab Emirates recently invited a delegation from the
      Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations.

      Egypt, Jordan and Mauritania are the only three of the 21 Arab states
      to recognize Israel.

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