But dinner diplomacy between Israel’s prime minister and a prominent Emirati ambassador sheds light on one of the worst kept secrets in the Arab world: the quiet ties between Israel and some of its Arab neighbors that are increasingly coming out in the open as they find common cause against Iran.
(AhlulBayt News Agency) - The Associated Press Agency said on Saturday (May 12, 2018) that a secret meeting was held between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bahraini and Emirati ambassadors, during Netanyahu's visit to Washington last Mach to take part in an annual pro-Israel policy conference, AIPAC.
The meeting was held in Cafe Milano, in Georgetown region in Washington, according to the agency.
By coincidence, the Emirati ambassador to the U.S., Yousef Al-Otaiba, was at the restaurant hosting Brian Hook, the State Department's policy planning chief, and a group of U.S. journalists, along with Bahrain's ambassador, Abdullah bin Rashed bin Abdullah Al Khalifa.
The Americans dining with Otaiba and Al Khalifa wanted to know if the Israeli would mind making an appearance at their dinner. That request first passed through the restaurant's owner, then one of the journalists.
It wasn't long before Netanyahu and his wife came over to say hello on their way out.
The Associated Press reported that six people attended the dinner, talked and answered questions about Iran and other issues. There were smiles, a few laughs about the oddity of the situation, and Netanyahu shook hands with the two ambassadors before leaving the restaurant.
The Israeli and Emirati embassies in Washington declined to comment on this secret meeting.
This comes few days after series of stances that proved the normalization approach at the Bahraini and Emirati governments.
The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Friday (May 4, 2018) the arrival of Bahraini and Emirati cyclists teams to Jerusalem to take part in an international race hosted by Israel.
The ministry published on its Facebook page "Israel Speaks Arabic" two photos for the Gulf teams in Jerusalem.
For his part, Bahraini Minister of Foreign Affairs Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa issued controversial statements in which he expressed his baking to the recent Israeli strikes on Syria.
The minister said that "Israel has the right to defend itself against Iran".