Netanyahu ‘to pursue Saudi ties’

December 16, 2022 by AAP
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Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu has urged the United States to reaffirm its commitment to Saudi Arabia and pledged to pursue formal Israeli ties with the Middle Eastern country for a “quantum leap” in peace, Al Arabiya English reports.

Benjamin Netanyahu Photo: Abir Sultan/AP

The US-Saudi strategic partnership has frayed under US President Joe Biden’s administration, and there has been tension between the United States and the United Arab Emirates, which forged relations with Israel.

“The traditional (US) alliance with Saudi Arabia and other countries has to be reaffirmed. There should not be periodic swings, or even wild swings in this relationship, because I think that the alliance… is the anchor of stability in our region,” Netanyahu told the Saudi-owned website.

“I’m to speak to President Biden about it,” Netanyahu said according to a published transcript of the interview.

Having come ahead in a November election, Netanyahu is in talks on forming a coalition with religious-nationalist partners and has until December 21 to finalise the government.

Netanyahu said he was committed to building on normalisation pacts signed with the UAE and Bahrain in 2020 under his leadership, known as the Abraham Accords, which created a new axis in the face of Iran’s growing influence in the region.

Gulf powerhouse Saudi Arabia blessed the US-brokered pacts but stopped short of formally recognising Israel in the absence of a resolution to Palestinian statehood goals.

An accord with Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, would be a “quantum leap for an overall peace between Israel and the Arab world” and ultimately facilitate Palestinian-Israeli peace, Netanyahu said.

“I intend to pursue it,” he said, voicing hope the Saudi leadership would “partake in this effort”.

Gulf states rely on the US security umbrella and have questioned the country’s commitment to the region.

US-Saudi ties have been strained over human rights, the Yemen war and, more recently, energy policy.

Saudi Arabia has made some gestures towards Israel, announcing in July during a visit by Biden to the kingdom that it would open Saudi airspace to all carriers.

Progress on that for Israeli airlines hinges on Oman’s approval on using its airspace to skirt Iran for journeys to Asia.


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