UNITED NATIONS: Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday he believed his country was on the cusp of peace with Saudi Arabia, which he predicted could be clinched by US President Joe Biden and reshape the Middle East.
Yet, amid urging by Riyadh and Washington that the Palestinians be included in the diplomacy, Netanyahu told the United Nations General Assembly that Palestinians should not be allowed to “veto” the regional dealmaking.
Expectations that Israel might normalise relations with Saudi Arabia, the home of Islam’s two holiest shrines, have been ratcheted up this week.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said a deal was getting closer by the day and Netanyahu and Biden held a long-awaited meeting to discuss the prospects.
Netanyahu described as a precursor the 2020 normalisation accords between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, known as the Abraham Accords.
“There’s no question: The Abraham Accords heralded the dawn of a new age of peace,” he said. “I believe we’re on the cusp of a more dramatic breakthrough: A historic peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia.”
Though he voiced willingness to seek some accommodation with the Palestinians – whose statehood goals are ruled out by his hard-right government – Netanyahu said: “We must not give the Palestinians a veto over new peace treaties with Arab states.”