The view from Mount Bental, overlooking the border with Syria in the Golan Heights, August 22, 2020 / (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
Stopping the plan to extend Israeli sovereignty to parts of Judea and Samaria created diplomatic opportunities, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Wednesday.
“The conversation around the region changed from one of annexation to one of peace and normalization in the region,” Ashkenazi said.
Ashkenazi also touted the economic opportunities in establishing relations between Israel and Arab states.
In recent months, Israel normalized ties with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, and Sudan announced in October that it would be next.
Most of Ashkenazi’s comments to the committee were made behind closed doors.
Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Zvi Hauser (Derech Eretz) compared the recent steps to normalize ties between Israel and Arab states to the period after the fall of the Soviet Union, in which Russia, China and many other countries established diplomatic relations with Israel: “I hope we are at the beginning of another wave.”
“It took a decade after the Arab Spring, and we see messianic times, as believers may say,” Hauser added. “Agreements with the Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and I hope other countries.”
Hauser also expressed hope that more countries will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move their embassies there, and recognize Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights.
“Every reasonable person understands there is no longer any possibility of Israel leaving the Golan Heights. These are solid facts and the time has come for the world to recognize the changes in the Middle East, following the collapse of the systems surrounding us, and the fact that Israel is in the Golan Heights and will stay there forever,” Hauser said.