Antony Blinken
Antony BlinkenREUTERS/Sarah Silbiger

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke on Thursday about the growing prospects of normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia, i24NEWS reported.

Blinken highlighted the profound impact that normalization could have on the region.

"First, it would be transformative if we can get there. You would go from a region where there have been, as you know better than anyone, decades of turmoil – go back to 1979, even earlier – and moving that to the prospects for a much more stable and integrated region, to have at the same time a rapprochement by the leading country in Islam with Israel, that would have reverberations well beyond the Middle East. So if it can be achieved, I think it would be transformative," he said.

At the same time, he acknowledged the complexities involved, stating, "Achieving it is not easy. There are really hard issues that are on the table. We’re working through them."

Blinken continued, "I don’t want to put a percentage number on it, but I can say this: I think we’re invested in really testing this out. I believe the Saudis and the Israelis are as well. But we still have to grapple with a lot of hard practical issues. And whether we can get there and when we can get there, that we don’t know."

His comments come amid continued talks on normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia. The deal is widely expected to include Israeli concessions towards the Palestinian Authority. Blinken recently said that the Palestinian Arab issue will be part of a normalization agreement.

As part of the process, The Wall Street Journal reported that Saudi Arabia is offering to resume financial support to the Palestinian Authority which it had frozen in 2021.

Saudi officials have repeatedly stated that normalization with Israel is conditioned on the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during his speech to the UN General Assembly last week that "I believe that we are at the cusp of a historic peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia. Such a peace will go a long way to ending the Arab Israeli conflict."

Two days before Netanyahu’s speech, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman commented on the negotiations with Israel in an interview with Fox News.

"Every day we get closer, it seems it's for the first time real one serious. We get to see how it goes," he said, adding his country could work with Israel, no matter who is in charge and calling a potential deal "the biggest historical deal since the end of the Cold War."

Meanwhile, Tourism Minister Haim Katz landed in Riyadh this week in order to take part in the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) conference. Katz became the first Israeli minister to head an official delegation to Saudi Arabia.