Israel says holding talks with Palestinians to advance Saudi normalization deal

Middle East Monitor  /  September 11, 2023

Israel is holding talks with Palestinians as part of efforts to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia, the country’s National Security Adviser said Monday, Anadolu Agency reports.

“I have been conducting a dialogue with them [Palestinian authorities] in the name of the Prime Minister for eight months,” Tzachi Hanegbi said in statements cited by The Times of Israel newspaper.

“The conversations are taking place as part of the five-way dialogue with Jordan, Egypt and the US,” Hanegbi added at a conference at Reichman University in Herzliya.

“We are trying to reach agreements on security matters, so they will take responsibility for the matters that touch on their lives, Area A and so that the IDF (army) won’t have to enter refugee camps in Jenin and Nablus instead of them,” he said.

Regarding the chances of reaching a deal to normalize Israeli-Saudi ties, Hanegbi said that an agreement is “likely to take place”.

There was no comment from the Palestinian or Saudi authorities on the Israeli statements.

Last month, Hanegbi cited “significant progress” in talks with Saudi Arabia and the US on reaching a normalization deal between Tel Aviv and Riyadh.

Israeli officials have talked on several occasions about an imminent normalization deal with Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia does not have diplomatic relations with Israel and opposes normalization with Tel Aviv until it ends the decades-long Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories.

Six Arab countries have diplomatic ties with Israel, starting with Egypt in 1979, Jordan in 1994, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain in September 2020, and then Sudan and Morocco later that year.