Last week, on July 17, the state of Israel launched a new Twitter account. The brainchild of Israeli diplomat Gary Koren, @IsraelintheGCC is designed to act as a “virtual embassy” to the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council, with whom Israel maintains no official diplomatic relationship. A loose political and economic union that includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, the GCC launched a common market in 2008 and as a group produces over one-third of the world’s crude oil every year. So while the stated goal of the new Twitter “embassy” is to “reach out and open lines of dialogue” with Arab states, the economic incentives for thawing the ice are also very clear.
But can friendly forays of 140 characters or fewer effect a change that years of traditional diplomacy could not? Who knows? After all Ecclesiastes tells us, “God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.” // Patrick Barrett