Speaking at London’s Chatham House think tank, Netanyahu said moderate Arab countries in the region are gradually becoming less hostile and more cooperative toward Israel, but added that the Palestinians’ refusal to recognize Israel is still the number one obstacle.

Photo credit: Chatham House Youtube channel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday that moderate Arab countries in the Middle East are gradually changing their policies toward Israel, expressing hope that a peace agreement with the Palestinians can be reached as a result.

“There is a movement in the Arab world,” Netanyahu said at London’s Chatham House, an independent international affairs institute. Netanyahu said. “Attitudes toward Israel are still hardened in our immediate vicinity, but as you move toward (the) Arab Gulf you’ll find attitudes are mellowing considerably.”

Netanyahu added, however, that no regional alliances can substitute a peace deal with the Palestinians. The biggest obstacle to such a deal, he said, is the Palestinians’ “persistent refusal to recognize a Jewish state in any boundary.”