On 5 November 2018, the Israeli Minister for Transport and Intelligence, Israel Katz, presented his plan for a railway linking the Mediterranean to the Gulf. The plan is to construct a rail route that would pass through Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman.

Israel Katz has already talked about this project in April 2017. But this time he presented it to the World Congress of the International Union of Transport by Road (IRU) which took place at Oman. Now, this organization is not a UN specialized agency for railways but a syndicate of road transporters (lorries and buses), that have to negotiate the conditions for cross border traffic.

There was really no reason to make this announcement at this time. The motive for the announcement was linked to the recent Israeli diplomatic deployment in the Gulf (the Prime Minister’s trip to Oman, the judo players’ participation in the World Championship held in the Emirates, the Minister of Sports and Culture’s visit to the Mosque of Sheikh Zayed of the Emirates).

The “Railway of Peace”, as Israel has called it, should leave from the Israeli Port of Haïfa (licensed to the Shanghai International Port Group). It is supposed to cross Saudi Arabia, whose Crown Prince, “MBS”, secretly visited Israel a year ago. It should end in Oman, whose Sultan Qabous, acutely inflicted by Alzheimer’s, pretended to receive Benjamin Netanyahu.

The US envoy for the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, tweeted: “these efforts support ours”, thereby suggesting that this railway plan could be linked to the “Deal of the Century” announced by US President Trump.

Anoosha Boralessa