Israel and Saudi Arabia deal expected 'within a year' says top Israeli diplomat

Benjamin Netanyahu hopes to make a state visit to Riyadh, says former UN permanent representative


Israel is likely to sign a peace treaty with Saudi Arabia this year, the Jewish state’s former permanent representative to the United Nations has said.

Speaking at a global summit in Rome, Danny Danon revealed the “first priority” of Benjamin Netanyahu’s incoming government is peace with the Gulf state.

He said: “I bring good news from Jerusalem… Prime Minister Netanyahu’s first state visit will be to Abu Dhabi, and we hope that Riyadh will follow. 

“The Abraham Accords were not built in a day. The hardest part was going public. 

“We have been in contact with the Saudis for years - I worked personally with them at the United Nations on matters of regional stability and security.”

A full agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia can now be expected this year, he claimed.

Mr Danon added: “It’s just a matter of time before courageous leaders step out of the shadows and full peace is achieved between all the children of Abraham…

“We pray that the seeds we planted here today will grow into unprecedented global peace and coexistence for generations to come."

He hailed the agreement many thought “impossible,” and told attendees: “we also brought together the Jewish state of Israel and the moderate Arab countries of the Middle East in a historic agreement that many thought was impossible.

“I remember in many discussions in Washington I was told the paradigm is first that you have to solve the conflict in Israel, then you can speak about solving the conflict in the region, and we were able to change that paradigm.”

The international conference was held to support peace and tolerance in the spirit of the Abraham Accords, a 2020 deal that normalised relations between Israel, the UAE, Bahrain, and Morocco. 

It featured Houda Nonoo, Bahrain’s former ambassador to the United States, Imam Mohammad Tawhidi, Vice President of The Global Imams Council, and Rabbi Dr. Elie Abadie, Senior Rabbi of the UAE, among others.

On Monday, Israeli President Isaac Herzog told United Arab Emirates President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan he aimed to bring more nations into the Abraham Accords.

While meeting at his counterpart’s Abu Dhabi home, President Herzog insisted the deal was a “national consensus in Israel on all sides of the political spectrum”.

Speaking to Israeli reporters before the meeting, he said: “This visit was an opportunity to take stock after two years of the Abraham Accords.

“It started as an agreement, turned into ties between states, and now the… countries want to upgrade the agreements and are working to add more nations.

“This requires Israel’s leadership to understand that this challenge continues.”

President Herzog also became the first Israeli head of state to visit Bahrain during the regional visit.

Senior Saudi officials recently told a meeting of American Jewish leaders that the normalisation of relations with Israel was a goal of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, i24NEWS reported Tuesday.

Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir reportedly said: "Israel and other Gulf states have been gradually normalising for years. The process must be allowed to mature.”

Speaking in Rome, religious leaders hailed the progress already attained under the Abraham Accords.

Rabbi Dr. Elie Abadie, Senior Rabbi of the United Arab Emirates, said: “As a young Jewish boy, fleeing my hometown of Beirut, I would have never dreamed that one day I would be serving as a Rabbi in an Arab country. 

“Nevermind an Arab country with a rapidly growing Jewish community that has signed a peace accord with the State of Israel. 

“We are living in profound times and must seize the opportunities that lay before us.”

Imam Mohammad Tawhidi, an Iranian-born Shi’a Muslim Scholar and Vice President of The Global Imams Council predicted that there was reason for hope beyond the Arab world. 

“It is hard for some people to imagine that Israel and Iran were close allies just 43 years ago,” he said. 

“I come here today, as a free Iranian to tell you that peace between Israel, Iran, and even between the Shi’a and the Sunni world is closer than ever. 

“The people of Iran have seen the fruits of the Abraham Accords, they have witnessed how fast peace can be built and many remember the days of Israeli tourists visiting Tehran and long for those days to return.”

The summit in Rome, also played host to a forum on "traditional family values", whereby delegates made a joint declaration of support of shared Abrahamic values and respect to the traditional family.

Rabbi Elie Abadie, Senior Rabbi of the UAE said:"Our commitment to the central role of our traditions form the cornerstone of our societies and connects us as we recognize our shared past and build our common future. We celebrate the traditional family values that have sustained and allowed religions and cultures to impact the world in a positive way that has resulted in a commitment to a strong sense of humanity, tolerance, and coexistence."  

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive