One senior US diplomat cites the impediment to normalizing relations with Riyadh as being Netanyahu’s and his far-right government’s unwillingness to make concessions on Palestinian statehood.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed doubts that Israel was prepared to make concessions in order to come to an agreement to restore relations with Saudi Arabia, particularly with regard to paving the way for the creation of an independent state for Palestine.

His candid analysis followed a visit to both nations by national security advisor to US President Joe Biden, Jake Sullivan, who briefed hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the “potential” of a potential agreement.

Blinken, however, who has been traveling back and forth between the two nations on several occasions since October 7, expressed skepticism about Netanyahu’s hard-right government’s ability to accede to Saudi demands should the normalization problem move beyond the realm of “hypothetical.”

“I can’t tell you whether Israel — whether it’s the prime minister or the country as a whole — is prepared to do in this moment what would be necessary to actually realise normalisation,” Blinken said to a Senate committee on Tuesday.

“Because that requires an end to (the war in) Gaza and that requires a credible pathway to a Palestinian state,” he stated.

“Unity within reach”
Israel’s 2020 normalization with three Arab states—the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco—was praised as a landmark accomplishment by both Netanyahu and former US President Donald Trump.

Saudi Arabia is considered a considerably bigger prize by US and Israeli authorities since it is home to the two holiest sites in Islam.

However, Saudi Arabia demands advancement toward a Palestinian state in exchange for a deal, a concept that Netanyahu and his radical ministers have long opposed.

In addition, Riyadh seeks possible civilian nuclear cooperation from the US, which has long desired but failed to lessen its presence in the Middle East, as well as alliance-style security guarantees.

According to Blinken, “I think we’re at a point now where those agreements are very much within reach — very close reach.” regarding the US-Saudi negotiations.

Parts of Biden’s Democratic Party have criticized Riyadh, which is why he is pressing Saudi Arabia.

Close Trump ally and Republican senator Lindsey Graham conceded that Congress could be more likely to approve a US-Saudi pact with Biden as president. Graham is running for president again in November.

Graham said to Blinken, “I think this needs to be done on your watch.”

“As a Republican, I think most of my colleagues would embrace a security agreement between the United States and Saudi Arabia if it would lead to normalisation and a brighter future for Israel and the Palestinians,” he stated.

Israel was admonished by Graham “not to let this moment pass.”

In other news, the US claims to be nearing finalization of a bilateral defense accord with Riyadh.

Negotiators from the US and Saudi Arabia are working to finalize a bilateral agreement that is anticipated to include explicit US commitments to defend the nation and give Saudi Arabia access to more sophisticated US weapons in exchange for Saudi Arabia limiting Beijing’s investment in the country and stopping Chinese arms acquisitions.

Any agreement, however, must uphold a long-standing understanding with Israel that US weapons sold in the area cannot reduce Israel’s “qualitative military edge,” providing Israel with US weapons that are “superior in capability” compared to those sold to its neighbors.





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