Once thought to be irreconcilable adversaries, Israel and the Gulf states have quietly grown closer in recent years. Drawing the two camps together is a slew of security, political, and economic interests that in light of changing regional geopolitics, is now out from under the table. Yet the unresolved Palestinian issue as well as limited ties in a number of sectors pose barriers to normalization.

In their just-launched issue brief, “Israel’s growing ties with the Gulf Arab states,” Jerusalem-based journalist Jonathan H. Ferziger and National Defense University professor Gawdat Bahgat trace the remarkable evolution of these relationships in recent years. Joining them to discuss suggestions for policymakers are Anne W. Patterson, former Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, and Marc J. Sievers, Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council and former US Ambassador to Oman.

This virtual event was held via Zoom on Tuesday, July 7, from 12:00 p.m to 1:30 p.m.


Dr. Gawdat Bahgat
Professor of National Security Affairs
National Defense University

Mr. Jonathan H. Ferziger
Former Chief Political Reporter for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs
Bloomberg News

Amb. Anne W. Patterson
Former Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs

Amb. Marc J. Sievers
Nonresident Senior Fellow, Middle East Programs
Atlantic Council

Read the issue brief and related content

Through our Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East and Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative, the Atlantic Council works with allies and partners in Europe and the wider Middle East to protect US interests, build peace and security, and unlock the human potential of the region.