On Wednesday, new reports revealed that the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia agreed on measures for a deal for the Saudi government to recognize Israel in exchange for concessions to the Palestinians, American security guarantees, and assistance on Saudi Arabia’s nuclear program.
U.S. officials familiar with negotiations have expressed cautious optimism.
Several weeks ago, U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan increased efforts for such an agreement after meeting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah.
“There is no agreed-to set of negotiations, there is no agreed-to framework to codify the normalization or any of the other security considerations that we and our friends have in the region,” National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby said to the Wall Street Journal.
Officials have also discussed Saudi requests that the U.S. assist the Kingdom in developing a civilian nuclear program and a commitment to defend the monarchy from radical Islamist threats.
The Saudi monarchy is also seeking concessions from Israel to assist in the creation of a Palestinian state. The U.S. is trying to pressure the Saudi government to limit its relationship with the Chinese Communist government.
American officials have also sought assurances from the Saudi government that it would not allow China to build military bases in the Kingdom, limit the use of Huawei and that Riyadh will use American dollars, not Chinese currency.
According to reports, one hurdle that negotiators might face is the concessions Israel will have to make to Palestinians in exchange for open diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia. U.S. and Saudi officials say Israel must make a significant offer to advance efforts to create an independent Palestinian state.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu told reporters that the Palestinian issue in negotiations is “a lot less than you think.”
The Israeli Prime Minister said he is willing to negotiate with the Palestinians in exchange for recognizing Israel’s right to exist. Israeli officials have told their American counterparts that they worry about a potential civilian nuclear program in Saudi Arabia, given that it could create a path for the Kingdom to have a nuclear weapon.
Other Israeli officials say they have “full confidence” that the U.S. would address Israeli concerns regarding this issue. Saudi Arabia’s push for a civil nuclear agreement comes as Iran continues its buildup of underground nuclear facilities to produce an atomic warhead.
The latest push for Saudi Arabia to obtain nuclear weapons and normalize relations with Israel comes as the Jewish state and its Arab allies are working with one another to defend themselves from the Islamic Republic of Iran and its terrorist proxies.
Since 1979, the Ayatollahs in Tehran have vowed to export their revolution throughout the Middle East, pushing the Arab countries into allying with the Jewish state.
Since the signing of the Abraham Accords under the Trump administration, Israel and several other Arab nations have opened up relations, creating new economic and military opportunities against Iran. Should Israel and Saudi Arabia normalize relations, the U.S. hopes it would put pressure on Iran and strengthen America’s presence in the region.