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Palestinians not a roadblock to Saudi deal, says Israeli FM

The Iranian regime is "like a cancer that destroys every country it gets involved in," Eli Cohen tells Saudi media.

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen seen during an interview at the ministry in Jerusalem, June 12, 2023. Photo by Yossi Aloni/Flash90.
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen seen during an interview at the ministry in Jerusalem, June 12, 2023. Photo by Yossi Aloni/Flash90.

The Palestinian issue will not be an obstacle to normalizing relations with Saudi Arabia, according to Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen.

Jerusalem’s top diplomat made the remarks in a wide-ranging interview with Arabic-language online newspaper Elaph that is set to be published on Monday, excerpts from which were seen by Ynet.

“The current Israeli government will take steps to improve the Palestinian economy,” Cohen stated, amid reports that one of Riyadh’s demands for a U.S.-brokered deal to join the Abraham Accords involves concessions to the Palestinians.

“A visit to Israel by a Saudi foreign minister would be a day of celebration,” Cohen remarked, noting that governments led by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had secured diplomatic relations with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco as part of the 2020 Abraham Accords.

He predicted that the Israeli premier and the Saudi crown prince would make history together.

Cohen touched on other subjects in the interview with the London-based media outlet, which is owned by Saudi businessman Othman al- Omeir, including provocations by the Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group at the Lebanese border in recent months.

He said that Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah was hiding in his bunker “like a mouse,” and warned that Israel “could dispatch Lebanon to the stone age” in a war with the terror group.

On the subject of Iran, Cohen called the regime in Tehran “a cancer that destroys every country it gets involved in.” He added that “the people of Iran view Israel as a democracy.”

The minister also addressed the debate in Israel regarding the government’s judicial reform initiative, saying that opponents of the reform are “exaggerating concerns.”

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