Israel and Saudi Arabia are reportedly moving towards the framework of a historic US-brokered deal to normalize relations, according to statements from the White House. President Joe Biden seeks to secure recognition of Israel by Saudi Arabia, a nation that holds significant influence in the Muslim world as the guardian of Islam’s two holiest sites.
The US has encouraged diplomatic normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia, following similar agreements involving the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco. Saudi Arabia has been seeking security guarantees, including a treaty with the United States, in exchange for normalizing relations with Israel.
While Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have suggested that the two nations are getting closer to a deal, the Palestinians have emphasized the need for their inclusion in any diplomatic agreement. They argue that a two-state solution is essential for lasting peace in the Middle East.
Expectations of Israel normalizing relations with Saudi Arabia have increased recently. Netanyahu referred to the 2020 normalization agreements between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain, known as the Abraham Accords, as a precursor to a potential historic peace deal with Saudi Arabia.
However, such a deal would require broad support among US lawmakers, which may be challenging given the political landscape and the upcoming presidential election in 2024.
Additionally, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen suggested that “six or seven” Islamic nations were likely to normalize ties with Israel after Saudi Arabia. While Cohen did not disclose the names of these nations, his comments have sparked speculation about potential future diplomatic developments in the region.