Israel's Potential Besties
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman Reuters

Israel is seeking to establish a diplomatic channel with some Sunni Arab states in the Gulf through secret talks, based on their common hostility towards Iran.

That is according to Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, who made the hawkish remarks in an interview with newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth.

If confirmed, this would represent the first diplomatic contact between Israel and countries such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, which have always been opposed to the Jewish state.

Israel has thus far only signed peace deals with Egypt and Lebanon.

Lieberman said:

For the first time there is an understanding there that the real threat is not Israel, the Jews or Zionism. It is Iran, global jihad, Hezbollah [the Shiite Lebanese militant group] and al-Qaida.

There are contacts, there are talks, but we are very close to the stage in which within a year or 18 months it will no longer be secret, it will be conducted openly.

Admitting that he spent "more than a few years of meetings and talks with them", Lieberman listed "moderate" Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as places he would have no problem visiting.

According to the Yedioth newspaper, new Israeli-Arab peace deals would be signed in 2019.

However a spokesman for Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry denied that any "ties or talks" were being entertained with Israel at any level, while Kuwait also dismissed the report.

Israel accuses the Iran of seeking to build a nuclear weapon behind the ambitious atomic programme, something Tehran has always denied planning.

Senior Israeli officials have slammed the United States for not pursuing a tougher line on Iran.