Palestinian sources: Gulf officials met Netanyahu in Israel

Unconfirmed report claims delegation from an unnamed Arab country was in Tel Aviv earlier this month for consultations on Iran

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan at his palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 2008 (photo credit: AP/Hassan Ammar)
Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan at his palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 2008 (photo credit: AP/Hassan Ammar)

A delegation from a Persian Gulf country recently visited Israel to meet with Israeli officials, the Palestinian weekly al-Manar reported on Sunday. “Two-high rankings officials” were in Israel on December 10, the report said, citing Palestinian sources.

The report could not be independently verified by The Times of Israel.

The Gulf country that sent the delegation was not identified, although al-Manar speculated that it was Saudi Arabia, based on a report that Saudis and Israelis had met in Monaco the previous week. The sources alleged that, in Israel, the Saudi officials met with officials from the foreign and defense ministries, even meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself.

According to a report in London’s Sunday Times in November, Saudi Arabia agreed to let Israel use its airspace in a future military strike on Iran and to cooperate over the use of rescue helicopters, tanker planes and drones.

The semi-official Iranian Fars news agency, which carried the al-Manar report, reported earlier this month that the director general of the Saudi Intelligence Agency, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, met with the head of the Mossad and several senior Israeli intelligence officials in November during the Geneva nuclear talks between the P5+1 world powers and Iran.

Many in the Gulf remain wary of Tehran’s intentions. Saudi Arabia in particular sees a stronger Iran as a threat to its own influence, and it and other Gulf states are major backers of the rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose government is backed by Iran.

read more:
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed