Israel says it hopes for ties with Saudi Arabia, Indonesia

Jan 25, 2022: According to a report by Reuters, Israel’s top diplomat said on Tuesday that he hopes to build on its 2020 US-brokered agreements with four Muslim countries and establish diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.

He did however say that such deals would take time.

Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest two sites, and Indonesia, which has the world’s largest Muslim population, have conditioned any eventual normalisation with Israel on the addressing of the Palestinians’ quest for statehood on territory captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.

On Army Radio, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said that Israel was trying to “extend the Abraham Accords to additional countries” beyond the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.

Lipid added that “small countries” he could not at present identify could normalize relations with Israel in the next two years. Despite the absence of official ties, Saudi Arabia agreed in 2020 to allow Israel-UAE flights to cross its territory. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s El Al Israel Airlines plane flew across Saudi airspace when he visited Abu Dhabi last month.

A covert visit to Saudi Arabia in November 2020 by then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was confirmed by Israeli officials but publicly denied by Riyadh. Both Israel and Saudi Arabia share concerns over common foe Iran.

It is to be noted that both Saudi Arabia and Indonesia condemned Israel’s air strikes in Gaza during 11 days of hostilities with Palestinians in May 2021.

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