US backs Israel's Middle East railway initiative

US envoy Jason Greenblatt expresses support for plan to build railway between Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.

Elad Benari ,

Jason Greenblatt
Jason Greenblatt

Jason Greenblatt, the US Special Representative for International Negotiations, on Monday expressed support for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz’s “Railroads for Peace” initiative.

“Today Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz is in Oman at an international transportation event. He will present a plan for the construction of a railway between Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf. Let’s keep the dialogue going. These efforts support our efforts,” tweeted Greenblatt.

Minister Katz said of his visit, "This is a dramatic development that is likely to affect many countries in the region, and it follows many contacts on the matter, which I led with the backing of the prime minister vis-à-vis the American administration and Arab elements in the region."

"The invitation of the government of Oman and the visit are part of a comprehensive move to promote the initiative and strengthen the ties with the pragmatic states in the region," he added.

Katz’s visit to Oman follows Netanyahu's surprise visit to the Gulf sultanate several weeks ago, in what marked the first time since 1996 that an Israeli Prime Minister has visited the country.

Following Netanyahu’s visit to Oman, an unnamed Palestinian Authority (PA) official said that the sultan of Oman had offered to play a role in mediating talks between Israel and the PA.

Greenblatt has been heading the US efforts to resume peace talks between Israel and the PA. The PA, however, has rejected US attempts to restart peace talks with Israel and has been boycotting the US ever since Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last December.