A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Gulf's Quiet Ties with Israel

In today's Daily Star there's an interesting opinion piece by Sultan al-Qassemi on Israel's quiet commercial and other ties with the Arab Gulf states, something most people are vaguely aware of but that receives very little publicity. Read the piece, which is a reminder that Israel's ties with many Arab countries are still a bit under the official radar, but do exist.

In the summer issue of The Middle East Journal, Professor Uzi Rabi of Tel Aviv University offered an analysis of Qatar's ties with Israel, if you haven't seen it already.


Naj said...

Thanks! I am very interested if you do further research on this and if you have access to Arabic media.

I am IRanian and I am becoming increasingly convinced that Ahmadinejad is an Israeli pawn.

LJ Marczak said...

A lot of the goods trade is done through "neutral" switching countries. Oil shipments usually via back to back letters of credit since the amounts are larger.

Sometimes things don't go right.
In April some Israeli oranges complete with Hebrew language packing were on display in a Tehran suq until someone noticed.

Long ago and far away, I and a client (a Palestinian) helped a GCC merchant repack some shirts that that had just arrived - all in clear plastic wrappers with Hebrew letters. Not sure what he did with the wrappers.

Another time, I was assured by a waiter in a GCC country that Hebrew lettering on a soft drink bottle "was actually Turkish, sir".

PM said...

The irony is, of course, that these are the trade ties that "didn't exist" in the first place -- that is except for under the radar. Made it a bit tricky when the Gaza incursion necessitated cutting them. Luckily, most locals and expats don't question things to closely.