Saudi-Israel normalization: Gaza post-war evaluation

News Bulletin Reports
2024-01-17 | 13:20
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Saudi-Israel normalization: Gaza post-war evaluation
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Saudi-Israel normalization: Gaza post-war evaluation

Before the eruption of the Gaza war, the world closely monitored the potential for normalization between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Talks of an imminent agreement were overshadowed by the outbreak of the October 7 war, prompting Saudi Arabia to suspend discussions on normalization and informing US officials, according to AFP, a source close to the Saudi government at the time.

In the days following the war, US officials visited Saudi Arabia diplomatically, shedding light on the Kingdom's evolving stance.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham conveyed Saudi interest in normalization to Axios. In contrast, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, after meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, expressed a clear interest in advancing normalization.

However, he emphasized that progress would be delayed until the Gaza war is resolved.

After these statements, American author Thomas Friedman, after visiting Saudi Arabia, wrote in The New York Times that "the most hopeful thing that I can report from Riyadh is that Saudi Arabia remains committed in principle to resuming the negotiations shortly after the conclusion of the war."

Approximately three months after the war, Saudi statements became more evident.

On January 9, Saudi Ambassador to the UK, Prince Khalid bin Bandar, told the BBC that Saudi Arabia is interested in normalizing relations with Israel post-Gaza war. Still, any normalization agreement must contribute to establishing a Palestinian state.

In a decisive response, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan addressed on Tuesday whether Saudi Arabia would recognize Israel as part of a broader agreement on the Palestinian cause. While not ruling out normalization, he stated that it might come at a "higher cost" than before October 7.

Saudi analyst and writer Ali Shihabi outlined to CNN the steps Israel should take to establish a two-state solution foundation, including lifting the Gaza siege entirely, empowering the Palestinian Authority in both Gaza and the West Bank, and withdrawing from central areas in the West Bank.  

Moreover, promises should be tangible commitments from Israel, distinct from past agreements with other nations that were eventually forgotten after normalization.

News Bulletin Reports

Middle East News

Saudi Arabia

Israel

Normalization

Gaza

Post-War

Evaluation

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