Blinken sees 'extraordinary' opportunity for Israel to normalise ties with neighbours

The US Secretary of State emphasises the need for creation of a Palestinian state

By Reuters

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Antony Blinken takes part in a panel discussion at the Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Munich, southern Germany. — Reuters
Antony Blinken takes part in a panel discussion at the Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Munich, southern Germany. — Reuters

Published: Sat 17 Feb 2024, 6:03 PM

There is "an extraordinary opportunity" in the coming months for Israel to normalise ties with its Arab neighbours, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Saturday, while also emphasising the need for the creation of a Palestinian state.

The top US diplomat said there were genuine efforts led by Arab countries to revitalise the Palestinian Authority so it can be more effective in representing the Palestinians.


"Virtually every Arab country now genuinely wants to integrate Israel into the region to normalise relations...to provide security commitments and assurances so that Israel can feel more safe," Blinken said during a panel discussion at the annual Munich Security Conference.

"And there's also, I think the imperative, that's more urgent than ever, to proceed to a Palestinian state that also ensures the security of Israel," he added.


The Biden administration has been working to secure a mega-deal that will see ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel normalise. The Kingdom and other Arab countries are seeking the creation of a Palestinian state as part of the deal.

Washington is also working to achieve a deal to secure the release of Israeli hostages kidnapped by Hamas on October 7.

The hostage deal and the humanitarian pause are seen as instrumental in helping advance conversations on a normalisation deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel, which had been frozen in the immediate aftermath of the attack but have resumed in recent months.

Talks on the structure of Gaza when the war ends, and how the Palestinian Authority — which exercises limited self-rule in some areas of the occupied West Bank — needs to be reformed to potentially rule the densely populated enclave and identifying a pathway for a Palestinian state are all variables in the same equation, according to US officials.

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