TEL AVIV – Sunni Arab states are moving faster than the Palestinians toward normalizing ties with Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said.
“They don’t see Israel any longer as their enemy, but as their indispensable ally in standing up to Iranian aggression and even, I would say, beyond that, to joining to achieve technological progress in their respective countries,” Netanyahu said in a conversation with American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris.
“In many ways, the Arab countries have moved faster than the Palestinians,” he said. “The Palestinians try to prevent this normalization process that can ultimately lead to a formal peace.”
The Israeli premier said it was more likely that Arab states would be the first to achieve relations with Israel.
“It won’t happen right away, but it’s step by step leading to a peaceful normalization, which I think could help, in fact, achieve peace between Israel and the Arabs and the Palestinian Arabs,” he said.
However, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi seemed to contradict this assessment, saying that his country would not accept any proposal that the Palestinians found unacceptable.
“Egypt will not consent to anything that the Palestinians do not desire,” Sisi said on Sunday, according to Reuters’ Arabic-language news site.
The Trump administration is expected to unveil its long-anticipated peace proposal in the near future. The White House has committed to unrolling the plan’s economic portion at a peace workshop in Bahrain later this month.
Israel and a number of Arab states, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, have accepted the U.S. invitation to attend the conference. The Palestinians have snubbed it.