Rails to Peace: Israel-Gulf Connection Paves the Way for Prosperity and Unity

An exciting proposal for a rail link connecting Israel and the Gulf States is in the works. This exciting venture, currently under a preliminary feasibility study, is seen as a compelling symbol of the budding normalization with Saudi Arabia.

The rail link is part of two grand projects – the “Tracks for Regional Peace” initiative and a US-backed proposal to knit together Gulf and Arab countries with India. These ambitious plans are ushered in amidst an intensified dialogue between Israel and Saudi Arabia with a hopeful normalization agreement in sight by year-end.

These groundbreaking plans spring from the seeds sown by the Abraham Accords of 2020. This historic pact saw Israel foster peace with four Arab countries under the auspices of the Trump administration, creating a bedrock for economic growth and stability in the region.

The “Tracks for Regional Peace” plan, initially proposed six years ago by then-Transportation Minister (and current Energy Minister) Israel Katz, found renewed momentum after the Abraham Accords. The project aims to link the Arabian Peninsula to the vibrant Haifa Port via a railway route traversing Jordan.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in an address to American Jewish leaders, highlighted this proposed rail link as part of his expansive vision for regional peace. Netanyahu envisioned this rail project as a ‘quantum leap’ towards ending the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Envisioned under this proposal, goods would journey by rail from Haifa, through Jordan, reaching Saudi Arabia’s Gulf port of Dammam and then to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. This creates a robust connection between the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf.

A preliminary feasibility study has been conducted by Israel Railways and Deutsche Bahn, Germany’s national railway company, to assess the potential of the project. This regional track project, which was revived in the wake of the Abraham Accords, aims to transport freight and present an alternative to sea transportation. Moreover, it harbors the potential to fuel regional normalization and inspire additional peace accords.

While parts of the necessary rail track are already in place, the project is on the look-out for backing from Saudi Arabia and Jordan, as well as the necessary funding. Former White House envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, heralded the project as a significant opportunity for Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, and others.

Meanwhile, there have been discussions on a possible joint venture to establish a railway network linking Gulf and Arab countries to India, offering an alternative supply chain route to Europe.

The developments following the Abraham Accords truly capture the spirit of the future. Professor Uzi Rabi of Tel Aviv University iterates that everyone who understands the rhythm of the future acknowledges the significance of these proposed rail links. He emphasizes that Israel, though it might not be universally liked, is no longer perceived as the enemy in the region.

Israel continues to demonstrate its commitment to the fostering of peaceful relationships and economic prosperity in the Middle East. The proposed rail link exemplifies the innovative, cooperative spirit of Israel, paving the way towards a connected, harmonious future. Through such initiatives, Israel continues to showcase its inherent values of peace, innovation, and cooperation, standing as a beacon of progress and unity in the region.