Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday (27/9) that warming relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia was possible, although there had been no movement on establishing a Palestinian state.
Speaking at the UN General Assembly last week, Netanyahu said that Israel was “on the cusp” of a historic breakthrough leading to a peace agreement with Saudi Arabia. He added, “Things that were unimaginable a few years ago” are now happening.
“Yesterday an Israeli (tourism) minister, our friend Haim Katz shook hands in Saudi Arabia. There will be more visits in the near future,” he added.
Katz on Tuesday (28/9) led an Israeli delegation to Saudi Arabia to take part in a conference hosted by the United Nations World Tourism Organization.
Katz’s office described his visit as unprecedented for an Israeli minister, and said he would hold discussions with officials from across the Middle East.
“We had to fight for years to change this concept. And to ensure it (restoration of relations with Muslim countries.ed), first, many of us and then many of our friends – led by America – ignored Palestinian veto,” Netanyahu said.
The US has attempted to mediate a normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Such a deal could have a major impact on the Middle East.
There are several obstacles standing in the way of reaching such an agreement, including Saudi Arabia’s demand to first make progress on the creation of a Palestinian state. This is something that will be difficult for Netanyahu’s government, the most religious and nationalist in Israel’s history, to do. (em/hour)