The door of friendship with Israel is still open to Saudi Arabia, but there are conditions

The door of friendship with Israel is still open to Saudi Arabia, but there are conditions

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Israel has made significant progress in recent years in normalizing relations with Middle Eastern countries. After formal relations were established with the four countries, discussions on establishing friendly relations between the Jewish state and Saudi Arabia also progressed. In such a situation, the situation took a different turn when Israel’s attack on Gaza began on October 7. CNN’s Middle East journalist Nadine Ibrahim has written about how Israel’s relationship with Saudi Arabia can be established in this context.

It was a few weeks before the conflict that started on October 7 in Gaza, Palestine. Saudi Arabia was very close to normalizing diplomatic relations with Israel. It is now three months into the conflict. More than 24,000 people have been killed in Israel’s attack on Gaza. The Arab world is upset about this. However, Riyadh has signaled that it will continue to negotiate on Israel’s recognition.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has visited the Middle East several times since the start of the conflict in Gaza. He recently traveled to some countries in the region including Saudi Arabia, Israel. Talks to normalize relations will continue, Blinken told reporters before leaving Saudi Arabia for Israel. And there is clear interest in the region to continue working towards this goal.

“A deal to normalize relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel is the only way for the US or anyone else to convince Israel to make concessions.”

Saudi Arabia also expressed interest in normalizing relations with the country despite Israel’s indiscriminate attack on Gaza. Prince Khalid bin Bandar, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UK, gave an interview to the BBC last week. There, he said, there is definitely interest in normalizing relations. Even since 1982 this interest has been there.

However, many experts say that Saudi Arabia may have more demands in exchange for normalizing relations with Israel than before the Gaza conflict. Riyadh can get more concessions from the US and Israel.
Ali Shihabi, a writer and analyst from Saudi Arabia, told CNN that Saudi Arabia can condition Israel to take strong steps to create the basis for a two-state solution. For example, Israel may be conditioned to lift the blockade of Gaza. At the same time, the issue of giving full powers to the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Gaza and the West Bank may be raised. It may also require the removal of illegal Jewish settlements from the West Bank.

Palestinians want an independent state with the Israeli-occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.
Ali Shihabi pointed out that the countries that had normalized relations with Israel earlier, Israel had made false promises to them, saying that this should not be done with Saudi Arabia. According to him, if Israel wants to move forward in the Middle East, it must end the conflict in Gaza and create a realistic path to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Palestinians want an independent state with the Israeli-occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. Most Muslim and Arab countries have refused to recognize Israel until this state is established. However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other officials of the country have been rejecting the establishment of an independent Palestine. US President Joe Biden also said last month that the Israeli government does not want a two-state solution.

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