While both Israeli and Saudi sources unofficially confirmed the visit, Netanyahu’s comments mark the first hint of the meeting’s existence by the prime minister himself.
By Josh Plank, World Israel News
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a closed Likud meeting Saturday night that that he had recently visited “other Arab states,” possibly confirming reports that he visited Saudi Arabia in November, the Jerusalem Post reported.
When asked whether Israel plans to normalize ties with the Kurdish autonomous zone in Iraq, Netanyahu responded, “I recently visited other Arab states, and just like I couldn’t tell [in advance] about the Emirates, I cannot say now.”
Netanyahu reportedly attended a secret meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the Saudi city of Neom on November 22.
While both Israeli and Saudi sources unofficially confirmed the visit, Netanyahu’s comments at the Likud meeting Saturday night mark the first known hint of the meeting’s existence by the prime minister himself.
On November 23, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan denied the reports that Netanyahu had met with the crown prince.
“I have seen press reports about a purported meeting between HRH the Crown Prince and Israeli officials during the recent visit by SecPompeo,” he tweeted. “No such meeting occurred. The only officials present were American and Saudi.”
Sami Abu Zuhri, a senior spokesman for the Hamas terror organization, called Netanyahu’s meeting with the Saudis “dangerous” and an “insult” to the Palestinian cause.
During a meeting with U.S. Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft on December 24, Netanyahu said that he expects “many more countries” to enter into normalization agreements with Israel, joining a growing list that includes the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco.
“We’re going to see many, many more countries, a lot more than people expect and perhaps a lot sooner than people expect,” Netanyahu said.
“We have the people of Israel yearning for peace, praying for peace and dreaming of peace. That dream is being realized today, thanks to many of your efforts and the efforts of the Trump administration and their defense of Israel, of truth, and of genuine peace,” he said.