The new Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, will suspend plans to annex parts of the West Bank in exchange for a normalization deal with Saudi Arabia, amid Israeli talks with the kingdom in this regard, according to Israeli media.
According to what was reported by the site I24On the authority of Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, partners in Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc said that they “will not stand in the way of normalization efforts with the Saudis.”
Netanyahu’s promise to promote annexation policies in the West Bank is part of his coalition agreement with the “religious Zionist party,” which has not yet been published or finalized, according to the newspaper.Jerusalem PostIsraeli.
Israel and Saudi Arabia share concerns about Iran’s nuclear and missile programs and its network of proxies, while seeing economic opportunities in the Abraham Accords, according to Reuters.
Saudi Arabia made some gestures towards Israel, as it announced in July, during US President Joe Biden’s visit to the Kingdom, that it would open Saudi airspace to all airlines, according to the agency.
The Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, recently told a group of American Jewish leaders that the “trend” is toward normalization, but warned that “it will take more time.”
The “Yediot Ahronot” report indicates that Netanyahu believes that “there is a need for some kind of concession on the part of Israel so that the Saudis feel free to move towards normalization.”
“I hope that we will achieve a full formal peace with Saudi Arabia, as we have done with other Gulf states such as Bahrain and the UAE,” Netanyahu said in an interview with the US-based newspaper, The Jerusalem Post.
Netanyahu considered that concluding an agreement with Saudi Arabia would be “a great leap towards reaching a comprehensive peace between Israel and the Arab world” and ultimately facilitate reaching a Palestinian-Israeli peace.
“I intend to continue,” he said, expressing his hope that “the Saudi leadership will participate in this effort,” according to “Reuters”.
Netanyahu was prime minister from 1996 to 1999 and then from 2009 to 2021, and after his victory with his allies in the legislative elections on November 1, Netanyahu is expected to form the most right-wing government in Israel’s history, according to “AFP”.
In previous Netanyahu governments, Israeli settlements expanded in the Palestinian territories and agreements were signed to normalize relations with Arab countries, which the Palestinians saw as “treason,” according to “AFP.”
Four Arab countries normalized relations with Israel as part of the 2020 Abraham Accords, and the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan agreed to establish diplomatic relations with Israel under the US-brokered agreement.
Saudi Arabia blessed the agreements brokered by the United States, but it did not reach the point of officially recognizing Israel in the absence of a solution that achieves the establishment of a Palestinian state, according to Reuters.
Such an agreement would make Saudi Arabia the fifth Arab country to normalize relations with Israel under the auspices of the 2020 Abraham Accords.