JERUSALEM, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- Israel's top security advisor said on Monday that Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have launched direct talks as part of Israel's efforts to ink a normalization deal with Saudi Arabia.
"This is the first dialogue of its kind in about a decade where representatives of both Israel and the Palestinians actually sit down and talk very openly about what they would like to receive from the other," National Security Council Director Tzachi Hanegbi told a security conference outside Tel Aviv.
Hanegbi said the talks are being held through a forum formed with the help of Jordan, as part of Israel's efforts to establish formal ties with Riyadh. He said Israel recognizes the importance of keeping the Palestinians involved in any future normalization agreement with Saudi Arabia.
Barbara Leaf, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, arrived in Israel on Sunday to hold talks with senior Israeli government officials about the promotion of normalization with Saudi Arabia, Israel's Haaretz newspaper reported.
Both Riyadh and Washington have emphasized in recent months that any U.S.-brokered agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia would require positive developments toward a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. ■