Amid reports of a secret high-level Israeli diplomatic delegation flying to and from the Sudanese capital of Khartoum on Wednesday, ALL ARAB NEWS can report that the Republic of Sudan and the State of Israel are set to announce a history-making deal to normalize relations.
The announcement will come very soon.
In an interview with ALL ARAB NEWS, U.S. Secretary Mike Pompeo strongly hinted that Sudan will be the next Arab country to make peace with the Jewish state.
Other sources are confirming to me that the deal is nearly done.
“I would leave it to the White House to make a formal announcement at the proper time,” a well-placed Israeli diplomatic source told ALL ARAB NEWS.
But we are close to a deal, correct? I pressed.
“Yes,” was the reply.
“The Sudan we see today is different than the Sudan of 53 years ago,” the Israeli source noted, referring to the days just after the Six-Day War of 1967. “We are, therefore, optimistic that the famous ‘Three Noes of Khartoum’ – no to peace with Israel, no to recognition of Israel, no negotiations with Israel – will hopefully soon be transformed into ‘yes to peace with Israel, yes, to recognition of Israel, and yes to negotiations with Israel.’”
Shortly after the 1967 war in which Israel defeated Egypt and Syria, took control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and seized control of the entire city of Jerusalem, the Arab League met in Khartoum and famously rejected Israel’s offer to return some of the land in return for peace with the Arab world.
Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen went on the record on Wednesday to say that he believed Israel was “very close to normalizing ties with Sudan.”
Pompeo went nearly as far.
“Are you ready to make news?” I asked Pompeo by phone.
“Joel, that’s a great question – no,” the Secretary replied. “You can see that even states that have not taken that formal step [of making peace with Israel], the language today is different, the rhetoric is different. You are seeing flights be able to fly from Israel to these places that couldn’t happen before.”
But then Pompeo went further: “I took the first trip between Israel and Sudan. No formal recognition – yet – but we are seeing real steps along the way [by Sudan] to take down tension, take down risks, and increase stability. It’s a model of how President (Donald) Trump has thought about the region, and now three and a half years in, I think it has shown tremendous success.”
As ALL ARAB NEWS reported yesterday, the U.S. has announced that it is encouraged by the progress that Sudan is making in terms of counter-terrorism and will remove Sudan from the list of terrorist states.
The Arab press – even the Saudi press – is buzzing with rumors that Sudan will be next to make peace with Israel. The English-version of Al Arabiya this morning quotes David Friedman, U.S. ambassador to Israel.
“More nations that are in the Arab League will normalize and make peace with Israel, I have no doubt, it is a certainty,” Friedman said. “How many, in what order, I think everyone is just going to have to wait and see.”
Avi Scharf, the editor of the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, tweeted a photo on Wednesday showing the flight path of a business jet flying from Tel Aviv to Khartoum.
He noted “this is the 2nd known direct flight between the two countries,” the first being Pompeo’s.
At 8:40 p.m. Wednesday night Israel time, Scharf then tweeted out a photo showing the flight path of the same business jet “returning to Israel.”
Only months ago, Sudan would have seemed like one of the last countries to make peace with Israel.
It was once the home of Osama bin Laden and the al Qaeda terrorist network.
It was also once the site of a radical Islamist genocide, civil war and famine.
In 2019, however, a coup ousted President Omar al-Bashir – one of the most evil leaders in the region, who had first taken power in 1989. He was imprisoned on charges of corruption and war crimes.
The new government has been working steadily to undo the damage of the Bashir years and build new and closer ties to the United States.
President Trump directed Pompeo to take the lead on the Sudan portfolio and see if it could be come a new Arab ally of the U.S., and a partner for peace with Israel and others in the Arab and Muslim world.
“Sudan was designated a state sponsor of terrorism in 1993 after then-dictator Omar al-Bashir welcomed Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden,” noted a Thursday morning news story in the region. “To exit the blacklist, which has severely impeded investment, the cash-strapped nation agreed to pay $335 million to survivors and victims’ families from Al-Qaeda twin bombings in 1998 of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.”
The Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom also reported Thursday that a normalization deal could be announced within days.
For months, ALL ARAB NEWS and ALL ISRAEL NEWS have been tracking this story of the improving ties between Sudan and Israel, and the possibility of normalization.