Israel Pursuing Four More Peace Deals, Bibi Says

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Getty Images)
March 16, 2021

Israel is pursuing four more peace deals with countries in the region and elsewhere, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday.

"I brought four peace agreements, and there are another four on the way," Netanyahu said. "I talked about one of them yesterday." He added that one such regional leader spoke with him by phone Monday night. The prime minister did not dispel rumors of other peace agreements in the works with nations such as Niger, Mauritania, and Indonesia.

The longtime Israeli leader also touted the four other agreements he forged last year with Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and Africa—Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Morocco, and Sudan—which thawed decades of cold relations.

Israel is inching toward normalizing relations with Saudi Arabia, a key partner in the coalition against Iran due to its size, wealth, and military force. Netanyahu met with Saudi Arabian crown prince Mohammed bin Salman in November. Under the Trump administration, senior officials hinted at prospects of budding relations between Riyadh and Jerusalem in the wake of the historic Abraham Accords signed in August 2020.

Normalization with gulf countries has already borne significant fruit for Israel. Tourism and trade continues to grow apace between Israel and the UAE, with some even remarking that they feel safer wearing traditional Jewish clothing in Dubai than in France now.

The Trump administration furthered such agreements between Israel and regional partners as a senior broker by strongly backing Israel and pressuring Iran. The realignment in the Middle East was appraised by former secretary of state Henry Kissinger as "brilliant." He emphasized that the Biden administration must build on the progress made in peaceful regional ties by continuing Trump-era policies in the region.

It is unclear, however, the extent to which the Biden administration will pursue additional peace. Both President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken assure Iran that they have interest in pursuing renewed nuclear talks, and several senior level appointments throughout the administration’s foreign policy regime marked themselves as leading critics of the Trump administration's policies toward Iran and Israel.