Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on Friday (September 22), told the United Nations that his country was on the “cusp” of normalizing ties with Saudi Arabia.
He further said that Palestinians should not get to “veto” the move.
While addressing the General Assembly in New York, Netanyahu said that the agreements which were made in the year 2020, to forge formal ties with three other Arab states had already “heralded the dawn of a new age of peace.”
“But I believe that we are at the cusp of an even more dramatic breakthrough — a historic peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia.”
“Such a peace will go a long way to ending the Arab-Israeli conflict. It will encourage other Arab states to normalise their relations with Israel,” he said.
Netanyahu strongly rebuffed the assertion by Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas, during his UN speech on Thursday, that peace could not be established between the Middle East and Israel without a Palestinian state.
Netanyahu said that Palestinians should not be given a veto over new peace treaties with Arab states.
“We must not give the Palestinians a veto over new peace treaties with Arab states,” Netanyahu said.
“The Palestinians could greatly benefit from a broader peace. They should be part of that process. But they should not have a veto over the process.”
United States President Joe Biden’s administration has been leading talks between the two countries. Recently, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said that the two sides were getting closer.
Biden and Netanyahu pledge to normalise Israeli-Saudi ties
On Wednesday (September 20), United States President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to together make efforts towards forging a historic peace deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia.
“I think that under your leadership, Mr President, we can forge a historic peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia,” Netanyahu said, adding, “Such a peace would go a long way first to advance the end of the Arab-Israeli conflict, achieve reconciliation between the Islamic world and the Jewish state and advance a genuine peace between Israel and the Palestinians.”
Netanyahu said they could work together to make history.
“Together,” Biden reiterated, hinting at his commitment towards normalising the strained diplomatic ties, which he said would have been unthinkable years ago.
Netanyahu issues ‘nuclear’ threat to Iran, then retracts
Netanyahu also called for Iran to face a “credible” threat of force after his office retracted his ‘nuclear threat against Tehran’ statement.
While addressing the UN General Assembly, Netanyahu said, “Above all — above all — Iran must face a credible nuclear threat.”
“As long as I’m prime minister of Israel, I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said.
His office later released a statement saying that the Israeli PM had ‘misread’ his speech. It said that he meant “credible military threat” instead of “credible nuclear threat.”
“It was misread as a credible nuclear threat. The prime minister stands by the original text of the speech,” the prime minister’s office said.