Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that his government is working towards a peace deal with Saudi Arabia and stopping Iran’s aggression, adding that the two are “intertwined” goals, reported Israeli media on Sunday.
Netanyahu said that achieving an accord with Saudi Arabia would be a diplomatic “quantum leap”, adding that he expected that “establishing warm relations with Saudi Arabia would change Israel’s relationship with the rest of the Arab world,” and as a consequence would “bring about the effective end of Israeli-Arab not Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” the Times of Israel reported.
He added that the achievement of normalizing ties with Saudi Arabia would “launch a historic change in Israel’s position in the Middle East,” the Jerusalem Post reported.
“The Arab world recognizes the primacy of the Iranian threat,” Netanyahu said, adding that the common enemy has brought the Arab world closer to Israel.
Netanyahu described signing a peace accord with the Kingdom and thwarting Iran’s threat to the region as two “intertwined” goals for Israel.
“This [normalization of ties with Saudi Arabia] is a goal that we are working on in parallel with the goal of stopping Iran; the two are intertwined,” the Jerusalem Post quoted him as saying.
Israel, since the signing of the US-sponsored Abraham Accords normalizing ties with UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco, has continued to seek expanding the initiative to additional countries.
Israeli top brass has repeatedly stressed that establishing ties with Saudi Arabia would be the ultimate achievement and would be pivotal to establishing peace in the region.
Israeli officials have touted Iran's threat to the region - including its nuclear program, ballistic missiles arsenal, and its interference through arming and financing militias in countries such as Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq and Syria - as a shared enemy with Arab countries.
Saudi Arabia has repeatedly stated that any kind of peace accord or deal to normalize ties with Israel would be preconditioned on the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said: “We have said consistently that we believe normalization with Israel is something that is very much in the interest of the region. However, true normalization and true stability will only come through giving the Palestinians hope, through giving the Palestinians dignity.”
He added: “That requires giving the Palestinians a state, and that’s the priority.”
Last year, the Kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in an interview with US magazine The Atlantic that Saudi Arabia views Israel as a “potential ally,” noting however that several issues need to be resolved first.
“For us, we hope that the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians is solved. We don’t look at Israel as an enemy, we look to them as a potential ally, with many interests that we can pursue together. But we have to solve some issues before we get to that,” he said.