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Yossi Cohen, a former head of the Mossad, said normalization with Saudi Arabia “is definitely possible”

By 05/29/2023 8:52 AMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff

Yossi Cohen, a former head of the Mossad, spoke at the INSS conference in Tel Aviv and seemed upbeat about the prospects of a historic peace treaty being reached between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Is it feasible for Saudi Arabia and Israel to normalize relations? Cohen oversaw the Mossad from 2016 to 2021 and said: “In my opinion, and this is based on an intimate knowledge of the matter, it is certainly plausible.

Several reports show negotiations between Jerusalem and Riyadh on launching direct flights for Haj pilgrims from Israel are far along.

A flying agreement may pave the way for a broader normalization agreement, which Israel has long desired but the Saudis have mainly ignored.

Saudi Arabia is reportedly demanding that the White House unfreeze some weapons deals from the Trump administration that were put on hold when US President Joe Biden took office.

Saudi Arabia is also reportedly seeking a defense treaty with the US, akin to NATO, and US approval for a civilian nuclear program in exchange for full normalization with Israel.

According to a report published last week on Israel’s Channel 12, the US and Saudi Arabia are attempting to exert pressure on Israel to reopen diplomatic negotiations with the Palestinians, resulting in a “separation” as a prerequisite for normalization.

While relations with Riyadh are vital, Foreign Ministry Director-General Ronen Levy stated at the same INSS event that “we must not dismiss other countries that have the potential to be partners.”

He expressed his optimism that agreements would be achieved with these states in the upcoming months.

According to a rumor in US media, Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer and National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi will visit Washington, DC, this week to meet with senior officials.

According to four Israeli and US officials who spoke to the Axios news site, Dermer and Hanegbi will meet with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and other senior figures from the White House and State Department to discuss the Iranian nuclear threat and the prospects for peace with Saudi Arabia.

While a White House National Security Council spokesperson informed the website that there was nothing to confirm, a Prime Minister’s Office representative stated that dates had not been set.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has not been invited by the US since forming the current administration and whose efforts to overhaul the court have drawn harsh condemnation from the Biden administration, counts Hanegbi and Dermer among his closest confidantes.

Hanegbi denied that Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had spoken directly in recent months, but he suggested that a normalization agreement would still be possible.

Hanegbi stated, “There is a leader in Saudi Arabia that the world has never seen before, a man who changed the course of his nation by 180 degrees, a brave and revolutionary leader.

“If he believes normalizing relations with Israel is conceivable, it will happen. I think there’s a potential that this will occur.

Last year, Saudi Arabia made a historic announcement by opening its airspace to all civilian overflights only hours before Vice President Joe Biden made history by becoming the first US leader to fly nonstop from Israel to the Gulf state.

Eli Cohen, the foreign minister, suggested last week that relations with Saudi Arabia would return to normal within six months in an appearance with Meet the Press on Channel 12.

 

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