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Blinken says Israel has ‘an extraordinary opportunity’ to normalize with Arab nations

US state secretary says efforts underway to reform Palestinian Authority

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken takes part in a panel discussion at the Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Munich, southern Germany on Feb. 17, 2024. (Photo: THOMAS KIENZLE/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo)

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Israel currently has “an extraordinary opportunity” to normalize ties with Arab nations.

His remarks were made during the annual Munich Security Conference (MSC) on Saturday.

Blinken also said there is a need for the creation of a Palestinian state, which is a core part of the Biden administration’s Middle East plan. 

The U.S. state secretary also said genuine efforts are being made by several Arab nations to reform the Palestinian Authority (PA) so it will be more effective in governing the Palestinians. 

During a panel discussion at the MSC, Blinken said: "Virtually every Arab country now genuinely wants to integrate Israel into the region to normalize provide security commitments and assurances so that Israel can feel more safe.” 

Blinken added it is “more urgent than ever, to proceed to a Palestinian state that also ensures the security of Israel.” 

The U.S. Biden administration has been working to secure a deal to normalize ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

The Saudi Kingdom has said the creation of a Palestinian state is a necessary condition of any normalization deal with Israel. 

The Biden administration is also working to help secure the release of Israeli hostages who were abducted by Hamas terrorists during the Oct. 7 invasion of Israel’s southern border communities. The attack was the deadliest event for the State of Israel since the War of Independence in 1948. 

The White House believes a hostage deal and a humanitarian pause would be instrumental in advancing discussions regarding a normalization deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel. Discussions had been underway for several months before the Oct. 7 attacks but were briefly paused following the invasion and Israel’s preparations for the Gaza ground operation, before resuming earlier this year.  

According to U.S. officials, recent talks have centered on the situation in Gaza following the war and efforts to reform the PA so it could be a part of governing Gaza in the future. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has adamantly declared that the PA cannot have a say in Gaza due to its support for terror attacks and incitement. 

He also appeared to push back against American pressure, stating recently that “Israel outright rejects international dictates regarding a permanent settlement with the Palestinians.” 

“Such an arrangement will be reached only through direct negotiations between the parties, without preconditions,” Netanyahu said at the time. 

Netanyahu said the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state, which is being considered by several Western nations “would give a huge reward to unprecedented terrorism and prevent any future peace settlement.” 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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