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Saudi newspaper publishes first ever op-ed written by Israeli authors in joint UAE initiative Open in fullscreen

The New Arab Staff

Saudi newspaper publishes first ever op-ed written by Israeli authors in joint UAE initiative

The Arab news article by Israeli authors criticised Turkish President Erdogan [Twitter]

Date of publication: 5 February, 2021

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Arab News, Saudi Arabia’s most widely read English newspaper, has published an op-ed written by two Israelis under a joint research programme with the UAE.
Saudi Arabia’s most widely read English newspaper has published an op-ed by Israeli writers for the first time in its history.

Online news site Arab News published a piece by two Israeli researcher Hay Eytan Cohen Yanarocak and jounalist Jonathan Spyer on Tuesday, discussing Turkish President Recip Tayyip Erdogan's alleged "secret militias" in Syria.

They claimed that the "central function" of the militias they described "has been to provide the Turkish president with a large pool of available, organized, trained, easily deployed and easily disposable proxy foreign manpower as a tool of power projection, which can be used with a degree of plausible deniability."

Both authors are fellows at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, which has recently partnered with the TRENDS research centre in the UAE in the wake of the normalisation agreement between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv.

Their analysis on Arab News was the product of joint research by Israeli and Emirati think tanks.

The UAE normalised relations with Israel in August 2020 and since then the two countries have signed a dizzying array of cooperation agreements in various fields.

Saudi Arabia has not followed suit, remaining officially silent on the UAE's normalisation deal with Israel.

However, there are widespread reports of covert relations and cooperation. In November, an Israeli minister reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, although this was denied by the Saudi Foreign Ministry. 

While the UAE and other Arab states, such as Bahrain and Morocco have rushed to establish ties with Israel, opinion among Arab populations remains strongly against normalisation.

Palestinians have pointed out that the normalisation deals reward Israel while it continues to occupy the West Bank and East Jerusalem and besiege Gaza.

A poll published by the Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS) in early October showed that 88 percent of Arabs reject normalisation with Israel.

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