Israeli FM proposes anti-Iran defence pact with US as part of Saudi normalisation
In an article published in The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, Cohen claimed that such an agreement could "alleviate regional concerns" over potential Iranian aggression, consequently diminishing the necessity for Gulf nations to pursue nuclear ambitions.
Cohen argued that a US-Saudi defence commitment could allay the concerns of Middle Eastern nations over Iran's nuclear ambitions, particularly Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.
"This approach would make individual nuclear ambitions unnecessary, bolster regional stability, and promote the peace and normalization agenda," Cohen said.
Cohen envisioned a "united front" that brings together Israel and what he called "moderate Sunni nations" to be an "effective check on Iran's growing ambitions".
The Israeli FM reaffirmed his country's rejection of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons, adding that this may be possible through international economic and diplomatic pressure coupled with a credible military deterrent.
Citing South Korea as a model, where the US defence commitment serves as a deterrent against aggression, Cohen suggested the potential for de-escalation in the Middle East.
Israel itself is believed to possess between 80 and 400 nuclear warheads, but has never publicly acknowledged this.
The negotiations for Saudi-Israeli normalisation reportedly involved a series of Saudi demands, including a formal Israeli commitment against West Bank annexation and refraining from establishing new settlements or expanding existing ones, to maintain the possibility of a future Palestinian state.
Earlier this week, Cohen told the Arabic-language London-based Elaph news site that if concessions to the Palestinians were necessary to secure a deal with Saudi Arabia, Israel would find a way to accommodate them.
He emphasised that the Palestinian issue need not impede progress, drawing parallels to the Abraham Accords and expressing optimism about improving living conditions in Palestinian Authority areas.
While the status of ongoing Saudi-Israeli talks remains uncertain, US President Joe Biden recently said that substantial discussions regarding a deal were ongoing.
In June, a bipartisan group of US lawmakers sent a letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken seeking an expansion of the controversial Abraham Accords.
The accords, which normalised ties between Israel on the one hand and the UAE, Bahrain, and Morocco on the other in 2020, was strongly condemned by Palestinians as a betrayal of their cause.
Palestinians pointed out that the deals rewarded Israel while it continued to occupy the West Bank and besiege the Gaza Strip.