Even without any formal peace treaty in place, Saudi Arabia and Israel could be strategically linked if Google succeeds in its plans to run a fiber-optic network from India to Europe via the Middle East.
Despite recent signs of warming relations, Israel and Saudi Arabia do not have diplomatic ties. If both countries agree to this project, it would be a first for two nations without official ties to be linked through such infrastructure.
The proposal to run a line through Saudi Arabia into Israel is hailed as a direct result of the U.S.-brokered Abraham Accords normalization treaties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Though Saudi Arabia has not joined the accords, it has given its tacit approval to the other Gulf States to do so.
These agreements have created new diplomatic and business opportunities in the region. Israel and the UAE have already signed a deal to run an oil pipeline between the two countries.
Google would save half the cost of the project by bypassing Egypt, according to the Journal. Egypt currently serves as a hub for most regional connections. According to one report, one third of the world relies on Egypt for internet access.
The Wall Street Journal reported the news of the proposed 5,000-mile cable would run underwater and cost $400 million to build.
It is being hailed as a great breakthrough. “In any place where you can lay down cables overland or undersea, you also create mutual interests,” Israel’s communications minister Yoaz Hendel said.
The news follows a secret visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Saudi Arabia on Sunday where he met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Google is waiting on Saudi approval, and the project — called Blue Raman named after Indian physicist Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman — still requires many agreements in order to move forward. From India to Italy it would cross multiple countries, beginning in Oman and then eventually through Saudi Arabia, across the Red Sea into Israel and under the Mediterranean Sea to Italy.
Industry consultants told the Journal that Blue Raman would be the first dedicated unbroken connection with a capacity of hundreds of terabits per second.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.