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Saudi Peace Initiative takes back seat to Iran

Although the Arab peace initiative may be going nowhere, there may be a Saudi-Israeli convergence of interests on the threat from Iran.
A general view of the opening ceremony of the 25th Arab League Summit, hosted by Kuwait Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah (not shown) in Bayan Palace, Kuwait March 25, 2014. REUTERS/Stephanie McGehee (KUWAIT - Tags: POLITICS ROYALS) - RTR3IGV0

Due to their sensitivity, Saudi contacts with Israel have historically been conducted behind closed doors. When they become public knowledge, they are bound to generate sensational stories in the kingdom. In the past, such contacts used to be denounced by almost all Saudis, but not anymore.

Earlier this spring, al-Madarik, a Saudi publisher run by journalist Turki al-Dakhil, translated a book by Israeli academic Joshua Teitelbaum titled “Saudi Arabia and the New Strategic Landscape.” Opponents regarded the translation as a gradual normalization with the Zionists that comes at a time when several European and American forums called for boycotting Israeli academic research. Other Saudis justified the translation on the grounds that it was better to “know thine enemy” than remain in the dark. Such overtures into Israeli intellectual productions and opinions have become regular, as Saudi newspapers such as al-Sharq al-Awsat and Qatari Al Jazeera television regularly include Israeli personalities among their commentators.

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