Riyadh, which currently does not have diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv, did not comment on the Israeli prime minister-designate's remarks.

In 2020, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) established diplomatic ties with Tel Aviv, followed by Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan.
In 2020, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) established diplomatic ties with Tel Aviv, followed by Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan. (Knesset Handout via AA)

Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu has said that he will seek to establish full diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia “as soon as I get into office.”

"I think we can end the Arab-Israeli conflict and achieve peace with the Palestinians, we just have to be creative about it," Netanyahu said in an interview on Thursday with the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV.

He also described such a move to be "a quantum leap for an overall peace between Israel and the Arab world," saying that it will change the region "in ways that are unimaginable."

But the Saudis have said full diplomatic relations will only come once an independent Palestinian state is established on territories Israel occupied in 1967 after six days of war.

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The question of Palestine

Netanyahu said he would seek peace with the Palestinians, perhaps through discreet negotiations. But he refused to endorse a two-state solution, calling instead for “a fresh view” and creative thinking. 

He also expressed support for an arrangement proposed by the Trump administration that was adamantly rejected by the Palestinians.

“I think we need to talk about it,” he said. “Maybe talk discreetly.”

“I believe in open covenants, secretly arrived at or discreetly arrived at,” he said.

During Netanyahu’s previous 12-year stint as prime minister, which ended last year, peace talks ground to a halt.

Saudi Arabia does not have diplomatic relations with Israel and opposes normalisation with Tel Aviv until it ends its decades-long occupation of the Palestinian territories.

It, however, allowed its airspace to be used for aviation between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, both of which established ties with Israel in September 2020.

There was no immediate comment from Saudi authorities on Netanyahu's remarks.

Netanyahu's deadline to form the Israeli government ends on December 21.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies