Israel army chief of staff had secret meeting with 5 Arab army commanders in Bahrain

In a move perceived by many as a betrayal of the Palestinian people, top generals from several Arab countries, including Bahrain, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt, met with their Israeli counterpart in Manama, Bahrain, to discuss regional security cooperation. This low-profile meeting, reported by Axios, was coordinated by the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) amidst Israel’s ongoing military onslaught on Gaza, which has claimed the lives of over 36,000 Palestinians, the majority of whom are women and children.

The gathering, not publicly disclosed due to the sensitive political climate surrounding Israel’s military operation in Gaza, was attended by General Herzi Halevi, the Chief of General Staff of the Israeli military, and US General Michel “Erik” Kurilla. The meeting signaled that military dialogue and cooperation between Israel and Arab countries continue under CENTCOM, despite widespread public criticism of Israel’s actions.

The decision by these Arab countries to engage with Israel during a time of intense suffering for Palestinians has drawn sharp criticism across the Arab world. Many view the meeting as a tacit endorsement of Israel’s actions in Gaza and a prioritization of regional security interests over the plight of the Palestinians.

“If true, it would be a scandal like no other,” said university professor Sami Al-Arian, a descendant of Palestinian refugees expelled in 1948. “It shows the complicity of the US, the Zionist regime, and five US Arab allies in the region.”

In recent years, CENTCOM and the Pentagon have been working with militaries in the region to bolster cooperation on air and missile defense. There is speculation that CENTCOM played a role in Israel’s recent attack on the Nuseirat refugee camp in Gaza.

US officials consider the defeat of Iran’s unprecedented missile and drone attack against Israel on 13 April as a significant achievement, resulting from collaborative efforts with Arab regimes. They stated that cooperation with Israel and Arab countries in the region allowed them to gather intelligence and obtain early warnings of the attack.

Officials also noted that the cooperation included the active participation of Jordan and Saudi Arabia in intercepting missiles and drones that passed through their airspace after being fired from Iran, Iraq, and Yemen toward Israel.