Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu celebrated his country’s recent peace agreement with the United Arab Emirates and hinted that deals with other countries in the region may be possible.
In an interview with Fox News’ Eric Shawn, Netanyahu expressed hope for a prosperous future for Israel and its Arab neighbors, something that was once seen as a farfetched possibility.
“If we join forces we can do wonderful things, limitless things,” Netanyahu said, “for the benefit of our people, their well-being, and for their security.”
The prime minister would not say which Arab nation might be next, but he did tease the possibility that more good news could be on the way.
“All I could tell you is I have been talking to Arab leaders,” he said, referencing a public visit he made to Oman. “And I can tell you that’s not the only meeting that I’ve had in the region.”
Oman and Bahrain have expressed support for the deal, as has Egypt, which signed its own peace agreement with Israel in 1979. The only other Arab country to make peace with Israel is Jordan, which signed a deal in 1994.
Netanyahu said that the deal with the UAE — the first of its kind with a gulf state — is “good for peace, good for security, good for prosperity.”
Netanyahu said that Israel and the UAE are “two of the most advanced economies in the world” and “two of the most moderate” countries that share the common goal of opposing Iran and terrorism.
He said Israel’s willingness to stand up to Iran is appealing to Arab countries like the United Arab Emirates.
“Nobody wants to make peace with a weak country,” he said. “Everybody wants to make peace with a strong country.” Later in the interview, Netanyahu said that countries that once viewed Israel as an enemy now see the Jewish state as an “indispensable ally.”
Netanyahu also weighed in on a UN decision not to extend an arms embargo on Iran, calling it “absolutely scandalous.”
Conventional wisdom in the past had been that peace between Israel and other Arab countries would not happen until Israel achieved peace with the Palestinians. Netanyahu said that the agreement with the UAE has flipped that idea on its head, and showed that the opposite may be true because Arab countries are seeing that they are better served by having ties with Israel.
“I think Arab countries are coming around to see that they can’t be held hostage by the Palestinians,” he said. “They have their own interests to develop peace with Israel, to exchange technology, to exchange things like the coronavirus vaccine development.”
Relying on the Palestinians to make peace first, he claimed, would not get anyone anywhere.
“Look, if you give the Palestinians a veto on peace between Israel and the Arab world, we’re never going to have peace with the Arab world because they’re refusing to have any kind of realistic settlement,” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu lauded President Trump’s plan for peace with the Palestinians, calling it “the only realistic proposal” that has come about in decades. He also predicted that if Israel does make peace with more of the Arab world, Palestinians will then “come around in a more realistic way.”
President Trump had facilitated the agreement between Israel and the UAE, and Netanyahu was grateful for Trump’s assistance in making it happen.
“We deeply, deeply appreciate the help of President Trump and the U.S. in advancing this peace and further peace deals,” he said.