21st September 2023 – (Jerusalem) Israel’s Foreign Minister, Eli Cohen, stated on Thursday that a normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia could be finalized by early 2024. Cohen expressed optimism about the ongoing negotiations and anticipated that the details of the agreement would be concluded during the first quarter of that year.
During separate occasions, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud both expressed hope for the normalisation talks. Netanyahu, during his visit to the UN General Assembly, stated that a normalization deal was “within reach,” as per an official statement from his office.
Similarly, the Saudi crown prince, in an interview with Fox News, acknowledged that progress towards a deal was being made, stating that they were getting closer every day. However, he emphasized that the welfare of Palestinians remained an important consideration in the negotiations.
The primary obstacles in the path towards normalization between the two countries revolve around Saudi Arabia’s aspirations for a civilian nuclear program and the need for advancements in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Cohen displayed confidence in the negotiation process, expressing his belief that the existing gaps could be bridged. As Israel currently maintains official ties with only a few Arab nations, such as Egypt and Jordan, the potential normalization with Saudi Arabia holds significant geopolitical implications.
In 2020, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Morocco took steps to normalize their relations with Israel. These developments marked a significant shift in the Middle East’s geopolitical landscape and demonstrated an increasing willingness among Arab nations to establish official ties with Israel.