Israel and Saudi Arabia are in talks to establish formal economic ties and preliminary agreements could be coming soon, the London-based Times newspaper reported on Saturday.
The newspaper said that Jerusalem and Riyadh are examining the gradual development of relations. In the first stage, the sides were looking into the possibility of allowing Israeli businesses to operate in Saudi Arabia as well as the option of allowing El Al to fly in Saudi airspace.
Officials in Saudi Arabia denied the report, saying that the sources cited in it are American officials, who apparently hope that this will be the next development.
Recently, however, there have been numerous reports of secret contacts between Israel and several Sunni Arab states, with which there are no formal relations.
Such meetings have also taken place in European countries, and one American report claimed that a senior Saudi official recently visited Israel and met senior officials.
It is believed in Jerusalem that the Arab states are at a stage in which they will begin to normalize their relations with Israel - even before any progress has been made with the Palestinian Arabs. READ MORE