by: Kate Norman
Thursday, 8 December 2022 | Saudi Arabia is looking to join its neighboring Arab states in normalizing ties with Israel—though not right away, i24news reported Tuesday.
The report cited an official document detailing a recent meeting between Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir and Jewish American leaders.
“The direction of Saudi–Israeli relations is normalization,” Al-Jubeir said in the meeting, according to the document, “but it will take more time and we must not put the cart before the horse.”
When the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed the historic US-brokered Abraham Accords in September 2020, Saudi Arabia was heavily rumored to be next in line to make peace with the Jewish state.
Though the kingdom had close ties with then-US President Donald Trump, Saudi Arabia dispelled the rumors by reiterating its stance that Riyadh would not normalize ties with Israel until the conclusion of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.
Ties between the US and Saudi Arabia cooled, however, upon the entrance of the Biden administration, as President Joe Biden had campaigned on the promise of taking a stronger stance against the kingdom’s human rights violations, particularly regarding the 2018 assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
However, one thing that the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel all have in common is Iran as an enemy. And amid the Iranian regime’s growing aggression, Saudi Arabia and Israel are known to have increasing covert cooperation, particularly in the security arena.
But perhaps the cooperation will not remain covert for much longer, as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met last month with US officials visiting the Saudi capital. During the meeting, the prince reportedly presented his American guests with a list of conditions for his kingdom to enter into the Abraham Accords.
The prince’s three conditions were all directed to the US, i24news reported, citing a source who attended the meeting. The first is that Washington affirm the alliance with Riyadh, followed by the demand that the US supply the kingdom with weapons as though it were a NATO member state and the third that the US allow the kingdom to use its uranium reserves to develop a restricted civil nuclear program.
Notably, i24news pointed out, the Palestinian issue was not listed among the demands.
Though the situation is heading in the right direction, Saudi’s minister of state for foreign affairs reiterated at the recent meeting with Jewish American leaders that it will take time for Saudi Arabia to join the Abraham Accords.
“Israel and other Gulf states have been gradually normalizing for years,” Al-Jubeir told his Jewish audience, according to i24news. “The process must be allowed to mature.”
Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu said last month in an online event that not only is normalization between Jerusalem and Riyadh within reach, but it would also “end the Arab–Israeli conflict,” as quoted by Jewish American newspaper Forward.
Netanyahu was serving as Israeli prime minister when the Abraham Accords were announced and joined the leaders of the UAE and Bahrain in signing the official document on the White House lawn in 2020.
Netanyahu pointed out to the audience at the online event last month that the Abraham Accords did not happen without the consent of Saudi Arabia, as a leader of the Arab world.
“It didn’t happen without Saudi approval because those countries wanted to know what their big neighbor Saudi Arabia thought about it,” Netanyahu said. “I can assure you, it wasn’t negative.”
Posted on December 8, 2022
Source: (Bridges for Peace, December 8, 2022)
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