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The New Arab

Arab countries dealing with Israel 'under the table', says Egyptian lawmaker

Egypt and Jordan are the only Arab states to have peace treaties with Israel [Getty]

Date of publication: 24 December, 2017

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An Egyptian lawmaker said that many Arab countries have been covertly dealing with Israel amid reports of rapprochement between Gulf states and Israel.

An Egyptian lawmaker has claimed that a number of Arab countries are quietly dealing with Israel amid reports of rapprochement between Gulf states and Israel.

Kamal Amer, the head of parliament's national defence and security committee, told local news website Masr al-Arabia on Saturday that many Arab countries are now dealing with Arab countries "under the table".

"Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has admitted that there are Arab states that have made complete rapprochement with Tel Aviv," Amer said.

"This is not under terms dictated by international treaties such as Egypt and Jordan. It is a concealed rapprochement taking place under the table," he said.

He added that the leaders of these countries "spend holidays in Israel and have strong relations with Israeli officials".

The lawmaker also denied recent speculation about alleged plans to establish a Palestinian state in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.

"Egypt has fought five wars and spent seven years fighting diplomating battles over metres of land in Sinai. This would prevent us throwing it away," he explained.

"No military or civilian figure would be able to take such a decision," he added.

The comments come amid a deluge of recent reports claiming rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE's deep distrust of Shia power Iran is shared with Israel and has helped thaw relations.

This month, Israel's intelligence minister said he wanted Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to visit Israel in an interview with Saudi news website Elaph.

Despite Saudi King Salman warning US President Donald Trump against the controversial move to declare the capital of Israel as Jerusalem instead of Tel Aviv, domestically, they are trying to calm the extent in which Israel is criticised in the media.

Saudi Arabia has ordered media outlets in the kingdom to not focus "too much attention" on Washington's controversial decision, sources have told The New Arab.

Egypt and Jordan are the only Arab states to have formal peace treaties with Israel.

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