Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Tuesday that Israel intends to develop a “special security arrangement” with Gulf Arab allies, who share common concerns over Iran.
This comes after i24 News reported that Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain have discussed expanding cooperation against their common enemies.
A source told The Jerusalem Post that the matter is currently being “informally discussed,” and added that all four countries, US allies, believe a nuclear Iran would be a major threat and have been eyeing the Biden administration’s plan to rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal with concern.
Speaking while visiting the Israeli-Gaza border, Gantz said that in the past few days, Iran has attempted to improve its bargaining position ahead of renewed nuclear negotiations.
“Often, what Israel does isn’t out in the open, but I can guarantee that no one will be crossing any boundaries,” Gantz said regarding Israel’s efforts to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb.
“We will continue to confront any threat, along with our new and veteran partners, chiefly the US, so that Iran will not be able to develop nuclear capacity.”
On Saturday, Gantz said that Iran was the main suspect behind the attack on an Israeli-owned ship in the Gulf of Oman last Thursday. Reportedly, in retaliation, the IAF bombed Iranian targets near Damascus on Sunday. Both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi have blamed Iran for the ship attack.
During his tour in the south, Gantz held a situational assessment with Deputy Chief of Staff, Maj.-Gen. Eyal Zamir, Southern Command OC Maj.-Gen. Herzl Halevi, and other senior commanders.
Gantz also visited the Kerem Shalom crossing, where he suggested that “This border crossing could and should become a bridge to Gaza’s economic development... Were Hamas to choose to return our captives and MIAs rather than work on rockets, we could expand trade and economic ties and bring real change to the lives of Gaza’s residents, who ... serve as tools in the hands of terror organizations.”
Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.