Israel and Saudi Arabia normalising relations with each other would end the conflict with Palestinians and the wider Arab world, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has claimed.
Speaking at the Hartog National Security Conference in Tel Aviv yesterday evening, Netanyahu stated that “If we have the upper hand, I think we can expand the circle of peace, and if we expand the circle of peace to Saudi Arabia, I think we will actually end the Arab-Israeli conflict”.
Such an opportunity, he said, “means we have to work not from the inside-out to solve the Palestinian problem,” adding that “I believe that we can reach a breakthrough if the Saudi leadership decides that they want to be a part of it officially. In an unofficial way, they are already part.”
Netanyahu tied the normalisation with the Kingdom in with the combatting of Iran and its influence in the region, which Israel identifies as a common cause uniting it with the wider Arab world.
While Arab nations, such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco have recognised Israel and normalised relations with it over the past few years in the Abraham Accords – agreements which Netanyahu insists achieve “peace” – Saudi Arabia, so far, refrained from joining them.
The Kingdom maintains its official position that it will not normalise relations with Tel Aviv until the Israeli Occupation of Palestinian Territories is resolved and a Palestinian state is set up, although it has expressed approval over the Accords and given them its blessing.
Luring Riyadh into establishing open relations remains a key Israeli goal this year, with the apartheid state’s former ambassador to the UN stating in December that the Kingdom is likely to join the Accords throughout the course of 2023.
Netanyahu’s comments at the conference are the latest in a series of similar remarks over the past few months, the last being only days ago, when he announced that his government is working towards a peace deal with Saudi Arabia and in ways to stop Iran’s aggression.