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Netanyahu's UN Address, Warming Saudi Relations Cap Whirlwind Diplomatic Week

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with President Joe Biden in New York, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023. (File AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with President Joe Biden in New York, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023. (File AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

JERUSALEM, Israel – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is slated to address the U.N. General Assembly Friday morning, and it will wrap up a whirlwind week of diplomacy as he ends his week in the U.S. after a long-awaited meeting with President Joe Biden and the prospect of a historic peace treaty with Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Fox News' Brett Baier that Saudi Arabia may normalize relations with Israel.

He said, "Every day we get closer. It seems it's for the first time, a real one – serious." 

Bin Salman told Baier the Palestinian Issue is central to the deal.

"For us, the Palestinian issue is very important. We need to solve that part and we have good negotiations, continue to, now, we got to see where we go," he explained. "We hope that it will reach a place that will ease the life of the Palestinians and get Israel back as a player of the Middle East."

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In their first meeting since Prime Minister Netanyahu took office again last December, he told President Biden that with U.S. help, normalized relations with Saudi Arabia are within reach.

"We can forge a historic peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia. And I think such a peace would go a long way for – first, to advance the end of the Arab-Israeli conflict, achieve reconciliation between the Islamic world and the Jewish state, and advance a genuine peace between Israel and the Palestinians.”

Given the potential normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia and likely concessions to the Palestinian Authority, Rabbi Leo Dee, whose wife and two daughters were murdered this year in a terror attack, wrote an open letter to President Biden and Crown Prince bin Salman.

He wrote, in part, "It is up to you to demand, as part of the peace agreement that is taking shape, that the Palestinian Authority immediately annul the laws that reward the perpetrators of terrorist acts. My beloved wife and daughters - who never hurt a soul - would still be with me today if the P.A. was not providing terrorists’ families with financial incentives."

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The threat of a nuclear Iran represents an existential threat to both Israel and Saudi Arabia, and bin Salman warned that if Iran acquires a nuclear weapon, his country will, too.

"Well, we are concerned of any country getting a nuclear weapon, that's a bad move,” the Crown Prince insisted.

To help seal the deal, the Biden administration is considering a mutual defense pact with Saudi Arabia.

That would compel the United States to come to the defense of the Desert Kingdom if it's attacked, a proposal that may require Senate approval.

If normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia does come, it has the potential to transform the Middle East. 

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