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Israel's president wants rapprochement with Saudi Arabia

According to Israeli President Herzog, Saudi Arabia could play a crucial role for peace in the Middle East. He considers a two-state solution to be hopeless given the social mood in his country.

Israel's President Izchak Herzog spoke out in favor of his country's rapprochement with Saudi Arabia at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Normalization of relations could be a key element in ending the Gaza war that Israel is waging against the radical Islamic group Hamas.

Although this process is delicate, fragile and lengthy, there is an opportunity in the relationship with Saudi Arabia to “move forward in the world and in the region towards a better future,” said Herzog in Switzerland.

The USA and Saudis believe a Palestinian state is necessary

At the same point, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said that regional peace also meant peace for Israel. He believes it is possible to integrate the Jewish state into a larger political agreement. At the same time, bin Farhan made it clear: “This can only happen through peace for the Palestinians, through a Palestinian state.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated in a conversation in Davos that a path to statehood for Palestinians could help improve Israel's security and its relations with other countries in the region.

Herzog: Israelis have confidence in peace process lost

Israel's ultra-right government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejects the so-called two-state solution. Herzog explained that public support for this idea in Israel is low because people are focused on their own security after the major Hamas attack on October 7th. Because “terror is glorified by our neighbors,” the Israelis have lost confidence in the peace process.

At the same time, Herzog called the humanitarian plight of Palestinian civilians “deplorable.” However, Israel must defend itself against the enemies entrenched in the Gaza Strip. “It is painful for us that our neighbors are suffering so much,” he said. “But we are not prepared to be attacked.”

Warning to the world about Iran

The president also called for a transformation of the Palestinian Authority. It must be ensured “that they do not teach their children to hate Jews and Israelis,” he said. At the same time, Herzog acknowledged that Israel must be prepared to negotiate with “potential partners.” “To change the atmosphere, we have to get the hostages back,” he said.

In his speech, Herzog sharply attacked Iran and its friendly terrorist militias. “There is an evil empire emanating from Tehran that is spending billions of dollars on weapons,” he said. They would endanger global stability. If Israel didn't exist, it would be Europe's turn – or even the USA.

Praise for attacks on Houthi militia

Herzog praised the international coalition fighting the Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen. In addition to the USA and Great Britain, Saudi Arabia in particular has been fighting against the Houthis since 2015. The conflict in Yemen is sometimes portrayed as a proxy war between the hostile Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The USA and Great Britain have recently carried out military strikes against the Houthis several times. Since the beginning of the Gaza war, the militia has repeatedly attacked freighters with alleged Israeli connections, endangering the important shipping route through the Red Sea. Places in Israel have also become targets for the Houthis.

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