Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Tuesday responded to recent media reports regarding a budding security pact between Jerusalem and its new allies in the Gulf. Gantz, while on tour near the Israel-Gaza border, played down the news, saying the cooperation would not constitute “a defense pact, but we are developing defense relations with every country we’ve established [diplomatic] ties with.” The Gantz remarks regarding a Gulf-Israel “arrangement” came a day after the arrival of the first United Arab Emirates Ambassador to Israel, Mohamed Al Khaja. The envoy met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin as the two nations pledged to develop bilateral regional projects. “We’re changing the Middle East. We’re changing the world,” Netanyahu gushed. Since September of last year, Israel has established formal relations with four Arab and Gulf states: the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.
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