- Saudi Arabia is moving closer to normalizing bilateral relations with Israel, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said on Wednesday in his first interview on US television since 2019.1
- In the interview, which aired shortly after US Pres. Joe Biden and Israel's PM Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the issue on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler said that 'every day we get closer' to normalizing relations with Israel.2
- Denying earlier reports that the talks had been suspended, bin Salman said that for Riyadh, 'the Palestinian issue is very important,' adding, 'We need to solve that part.'3
- Crown Prince Mohammed's remarks come after reports on Tuesday that the US is exploring a security agreement with Riyadh similar to those with its Asian allies, with bin Salman reportedly seeking Washington's assistance in developing a civilian nuclear program.4
- Regarding the potential defense pact, the crown prince added during the Wednesday interview that a US-Saudi agreement would prevent Riyadh from turning to other arms suppliers. He also said that if Iran obtained a nuclear weapon, Saudi Arabia would also “have to get one.”5
- Meanwhile, PM Netanyahu reportedly tasked senior Israeli nuclear and security experts to cooperate with US negotiators on a proposal for 'a US-run uranium-enrichment operation' in Saudi Arabia as part of the potential Jerusalem-Riyadh normalization agreement.6
- Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by The times of israel. Recent developments and bin Salman's statements about normalizing Saudi-Israeli relations are promising. This is also because it's now no longer a question of whether an agreement is possible but of the concrete terms of a deal between Riyadh and Tel Aviv. Moreover, Netanyahu has acknowledged that a rapprochement depends on a solution to the Palestinian issue. The task of normalizing ties is complicated and complex, but the conditions for a historic breakthrough are better than they have been for a long time.
- Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by The messenger. Despite all the media hype about a possible normalization of Saudi-Israeli ties, Washington's efforts are only the latest in a long line of US diplomatic initiatives in the Middle East. While Biden and Netanyahu seek an agreement with Riyadh for domestic, economic, and geopolitical reasons, bin Salman is in no hurry and is clearly the one setting the direction and pace of negotiations. Expect the usual US-sponsored 'peace processing' concerning a possible two-state solution, but no breakthrough in the coming years.