WikiLeaks Blows Cover Off Israel's Covert Gulf States Ties

Diplomatic cable dating from 2009 indicates that then FM Tzipi Livni had a good working, personal relationship with U.A.E. Foreign Minister Abdullah Ibn Zayed.

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Barak Ravid
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ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Israel's covert relations with the United Arab Emirates were yet another issue exposed by the recent leak of 250,000 diplomatic cables by the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks on Sunday.

Tzipi Livni and Ehud Olmert, March. 24, 2009.Credit: Limor Edrey

In a cable dating to March of 2009, Marc Sievers, the political advisor of the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, provides an overview of Israel's relations with the Gulf states, following a meeting with the head of the Middle East division of the Foreign Ministry, Yaakov Hadas.

The overview details a "good and personal relationship" to have been developed between then Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and U.A.E. Foreign Minister Abdullah Ibn Zayed, adding, however, that the two officials would not "do in public what they say behind closed doors."

While Israel and the U.A.E. do not have official diplomatic relations, the diplomatic cable exposed by WikiLeaks uncovers the secret and persistent dialogue between the two countries during the administration of former Prime Minster Ehud Olmert.

In addition to the Foreign Ministry, which was reportedly in charge of most of these covert contacts, reports have also emerged that the Mossad Meir Dagan chief was entrusted with secret talks with Saudi Arabia.

Another part of the cable also addressed Israel's ties with Qatar, which were severed several months prior to the reported meeting over Israel's war against Hamas in early 2009.

Hadas is quoted as pointing out that there were signs that pressure on Qatar to renew its relations with Israel was beginning to bear fruit. The Israeli officials also indicated that he had been invited to talks at Doha by Qatari officials geared at discussing the possibility of reopening the Israeli mission in the country.

"The Qataris need to understand that they cannot expect Israeli cooperation without agreeing to reopen the Israeli mission," Hadas is quoted as saying.



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