Washington Tells Tel Aviv What It Must Do to Normalize with Saudi Arabia

US President Joe Biden (L) and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz. (Photo: Saudi Press Agency, via Wikimedia Commons)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

The United States reportedly told Israel that, in order to finalize a normalization deal with Saudi Arabia, Tel Aviv would have to make substantial concessions to the Palestinians.

The United States told Israel that, in order to finalize a normalization deal with Saudi Arabia, Tel Aviv would have to make substantial concessions to the Palestinians, Haaretz, and other Israeli media reported on Saturday.

Israel news website Walla said that the message by the US was conveyed during the visit by Israel’s Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer to Washington, Haaretz reported. 

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During the visit, Dermer met with US Administration officials, including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. 

Haaretz also quoted senior US Democratic Senators as saying that “without achievements for the Palestinians, there is likely to be opposition to a future agreement between Saudi Arabia and Israel in the ranks of (US) President (Joe) Biden’s party.”

On August 12, Saudi Arabia named a non-resident ambassador for the Palestinian Territories who will also serve as consul general in Jerusalem.

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The appointment represents “an important step” underscoring the desire of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “to strengthen relations with the brothers of the State of Palestine and give it a formal boost in all areas”, Sudairi said in a video broadcast by the Saudi state-affiliated Al-Ekhbariya channel.

The Israeli government had then said that it would not allow the Saudi envoy to be based in Jerusalem, which Israel considers its capital. 

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International law recognizes East Jerusalem as a Palestinian city, and Palestinians hope that the occupied city will someday become their future capital. 

Normalization efforts between Saudi Arabia and Israel seem to be hitting stumbling blocks. While Israel is keen to gain access to the Saudi market and economy, it is unwilling to discuss the future of Palestine as part of any normalization agreement. The Saudis find this unacceptable. 

Moreover, the Israelis fear that any concessions from Washington to Riyad as far as nuclear technology is concerned could harm Israel’s interest as the only country with nuclear weapons in the Middle East. 

The Saudis have put several conditions forward to normalize with Israel, lead among them energy facilities for civilian purposes, along with a defense pact, among other demands. 

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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