Four oil powerhouses from the Persian Gulf - Kuwait, Dubai, Qatar and Oman - are set to announce soon that they are lifting the economic boycott on Israel.
During a recent interview with a local newspaper Bahrain Foreign Minister Mohammed Bin Mubarak al-Khalifa said his government has already lifted its boycott of Israeli goods.
In the framework of the new development the aforementioned countries will allow the entry of Israeli goods and products and will annul
the “blacklist” of international companies that do business with Israel, which is maintained by the Damascus-based Central Boycott Office (CBO).
The initiative came amid the Persian Gulf countries’ request to sign a free-trade agreement the American market that will allow them to export goods to the U.S. tax-free. The U.S. agreed under the condition that the countries would lift the embargo on Israel. The Gulf countries complied.
However, Saudi Arabia asked the U.S. to include it in the trade agreement without having to comply with the stipulation, stating such a move could provoke the local Islamic organizations and awaken al-Qaeda agents.
The U.S. accepted Saudi Arabia’s position.
Israel does not have diplomatic relations with any of the Persian Gulf countries, apart from a low-profile Israeli Interests Office operating in Qatar, but Foreign Ministry official Bruce Kashdan has been working for years to advance economic relations between Israel and the Persian Gulf states.
His main task is to coordinate between Israeli businessmen and local authorities. Kashdan’s efforts have bared fruit, as several businessmen have entered Persian Gulf states with foreign passports in recent months.