Tzachi Hanegbi
Tzachi HanegbiYonatan Sindel/Flash 90

National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi on Friday welcomed comments by his US counterpart, Jake Sullivan, who said on Thursday that the Biden administration is still hoping to achieve a deal normalizing ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

"A normalization agreement with Saudi Arabia is a central goal in Israel's foreign policy. We hope that there will be a breakthrough soon," Hanegbi said in an interview with Channel 13 News.

On Sullivan’s comments, which came ahead of his visit to Saudi Arabia, Hanegbi said, “This is very gratifying, the National Security Advisor says this is also a goal of the US. He is on his way to Saudi Arabia to meet with Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince.We very much hope that his visit there will lead to a breakthrough."

"What is important is that the US will lead a move to add Saudi Arabia to the Abraham Accords," said the National Security Advisor. "If this happens, it would be a historic, dramatic turning point, it would change the entire map of the Middle East, isolate Iran, and create legitimacy for any Arab country with ties to the West to connect with Israel. What the Saudis want is not from Israel - they want benefits from the US, as the restof the countries that signed the Abraham Accords wanted - and their requests were fulfilled."

Regarding the Iranian nuclear issue, Hanegbi stated that the Americans support Israel and added, "The Americans have always said that they will not allow nuclear weapons in Iran. We are approaching the moment when Israel and the United States will be put to the test - are they willing to do something to thwart Iran's arrival at the red line. We are skeptical about the effectiveness of diplomacy, there should be a dialogue to clarify the meaning of a nuclear Iran - on the part of Israel and the United States."

"The Americans would like to see the Iranians change the diplomatic direction, but the Iranians are playing with all of us and Israel is preparing to stand alone - in case we have to do something. The Americans say that Israel has the right to defend itself on its own. We have the right to act," stressed Hanegbi.

He was also asked about the Channel 13 News report on Thursday, which said that secret discussions have recently begun on the development of a gas reservoir for Palestinian Arabs called "Marine", which would be located about 30 kilometers from the shores of Gaza.

"I am involved in this, the National Security Council has been involved for 20 years. For 20 years there has been the possibility of a potential gas reservoir off the coast of Gaza.But there will be nothing related to the production of a practical infrastructure that reaches Gaza without [missing IDF soldiers] Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin returning to Israel.You can talk and make plans so that they understand the price of the loss.It's not just about gas, there are infrastructures that the whole world is ready to strengthen in Gaza – but we won't allow it until the boys return home," stated Hanegbi.

On the situation in Gaza following the recent round of escalation, he said, "I think it's important that there is deterrence. There is a complex game between Hamas and Islamic Jihad and sometimes Hamas allows them to 'vent their frustration', like this time. We see it as unacceptable and brazen. Hamas allowed it with a wink, that's why the attack that Israel launched was strong and powerful."

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)