What Happened: Israeli Transport Minister Yisrael Katz has called for a railway connecting Israel to the Middle East during a visit to Oman, The Jerusalem Post reported Nov. 7.
Why It Matters: The railway plan is part of a rapprochement between the Gulf Cooperation Council and Israel. However, it would also offer an opportunity for investment by China, which has been actively seeking infrastructure projects in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Israel.
Background: Many railway projects in the region have only been partially completed, were never begun or were delayed by falling oil prices. Other countries, such as Saudi Arabia, have rail lines but are not well-positioned to connect Israel with Oman yet. Although there is substantial interest in such projects, it will likely take a considerable amount of time for them to come to fruition.
- Israel, China: Beijing Tempts Israel With Money for Development (Oct. 26, 2018)
- Saudi Arabia and the UAE Consider the Cost of Israeli Ties (Oct. 25, 2018)
- In the Middle East, Strange Times Make for Strange Bedfellows (Nov. 24, 2017)