Deal with Saudi Arabia prerequisite to end conflict with Palestine: Israel

June 22, 2017 10:30 pm

Israeli Minister of Military Affairs Avigdor Lieberman speaks during the annual Herzilya security conference in Herzliya, near Tel Aviv, June 22, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Israel’s minister of military affairs has called for a deal with Arab countries, including , as a prerequisite for any agreement to resolve the decades-long conflict with the Palestinians.
In a speech at the annual Herzilya security conference near Tel Aviv on Thursday, Avigdor Lieberman underlined the need for “a full regional agreement” with what he called “all moderate Sunni states, including Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.”
“The agreement with the Palestinians is a byproduct” of the accord with the Arab countries, Lieberman said.
“The only light at the end of the tunnel is a complete regional agreement. Full diplomatic and economic relations. Not under the table, but on the table,” he added.
The Israeli minister further highlighted the profit of the deal for Tel Aviv, saying, “This would mean an additional revenue of $45 billion for Israel. That’s the potential.”
Citing unnamed Arab and American sources, The Times reported last week that Saudi Arabia and the Israeli regime were in clandestine talks to establish official economic relations for the first time since the entity was created on the Palestinian territories some 69 years ago.
Forming economic connections between to two, which would be gradual, could begin by allowing Israeli companies to open shops in the Arab kingdom, or granting El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. permission to fly over Saudi airspace, the report said.
Israeli minister urges full diplomatic ties with Riyadh

This handout photo made available by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) on June 21, 2017 shows Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud (C) sitting as royal family members and other officials pledge allegiance to him at the Royal Palace in Mecca. (Photo by AFP)

Separately on Thursday, Israel’s Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz called on Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to invite Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to Riyadh to establish full diplomatic relations. 
Speaking at the Herzliya conference, Katz asked King Salman to send newly appointed crown prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud to the occupied territories, saying, “He (the heir to the Saudi throne) is a dynamic person. He is an initiator. And he wants to break through.”
He further called for creating “an access vis-a-vis Iran” jointly with the Saudis.
‘Abbas after fueling Israel-Hamas conflict’
Elsewhere in his remarks, Lieberman accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of trying to spark a fresh conflict between Tel Aviv and the Gaza-based Palestinian resistance movement Hamas by cutting payments for electricity and other services in the blockaded coastal enclave.
“Abu Mazen (Abbas) didn’t make a one-time cut,” Lieberman said, noting, “In my opinion the strategy is to hurt Hamas and also to drag Hamas into a conflict with Israel.”
Recently, the Abbas-led Palestinian Authority has cut payments to Israel to supply electricity to Gaza, prompting the regime to stop deliveries.
‘Syria responsible for Hezbollah moves’
Meanwhile, the hardline Israeli minister warned Syria against what he described as attempts by Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement to open a front against the occupying regime.
“I warn the Syrian government that is encouraging them, both Hezbollah and Iran, from turning Syria to a front base against Israel. The Syrian government will be held accountable for this,” he said. “We are making an effort to warn, but when we have to act, we will not hesitate to act.”
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