Is Peace Between Jerusalem and Mecca on the Horizon?

Is Peace Between Jerusalem and Mecca on the Horizon?

Why the Israel-Saudi Arabia normalization talks are nothing to rejoice over.

To many, peace in the Middle East is a question of two religions learning to coexist. To this point, bringing Judaism and Islam together has been an impossibility. But reports suggest the two states controlling Jerusalem and Mecca are about to do what a few decades ago was unthinkable: Israel and Saudi Arabia may soon normalize relations.

The Wall Street Journal reported on March 9 that Israel and Saudi Arabia were in negotiations under United States mediation. Israel and the U.S. have confirmed talks are ongoing. But what exactly is being negotiated?

In 2020, Israel negotiated treaties with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco. Now, you can fly from Tel Aviv to most of these countries. Israel has exchanged ambassadors with the U.A.E. and Bahrain, and an exchange with Morocco is in the works. Israel wants the Saudis to join the “Abraham Accords.”

In exchange for normalizing relations with Israel, the Saudis want American defense assistance, including U.S. help in constructing a civilian nuclear program, U.S. defense commitments if Saudi Arabia is attacked by Iran, and access to weapons like missile defense systems. The negotiations are as much for a U.S.-Saudi deal as they are for an Israeli-Saudi deal.

Saudi Crown Prince (and de facto leader) Mohammed Bin Salman has said Saudi Arabia would not recognize Israel without a deal with the Palestinians. But according to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Palestinian issue is not a major concern to the Saudis. “It’s sort of a checkbox,” he told Bloomberg. “You have to check it to say you’re doing it. Is that what’s being said in the corridors? Is that what’s being said in discreet negotiations? The answer is a lot less than you think.”

Netanyahu hinted he would be open to some concessions to the Palestinians. “Do I think it’s feasible to have that, and do I think that political questions [from coalition partners] will block it? I doubt it,” he said. “If there’s political will, there will be a political way to achieve normalization and a formal peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia” (ibid).

The Saudis are not as concerned with the Palestinians as some may think.

In many ways, Israeli-Saudi relations are already thriving. Israel and Saudi Arabia have performed joint military exercises since 2022. Israel is working on a trade project that would connect Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. with a highway. A representative from Israel’s Foreign Ministry told Al-Monitor it would operate even if the countries don’t officialize relations.

The U.A.E. and Bahrain would not have made their peace deals without Crown Prince Mohammed’s approval. Both countries are Saudi security and economic partners. Saudi Arabia even lets Israeli flights use its airspace to get to the Gulf states. Prince Mohammed would never let that happen if he wasn’t at least partly supportive of Israel.

Why are Israel and Saudi Arabia suddenly aligning their interests? The most important reason is their shared fear of Iran, a radical Islamist pariah state controlling terrorist proxies around the Middle East. Iran is also on the cusp of gaining nuclear weapons.

Many developments suggest Saudi Arabia is also warming up to Iran and the Palestinians. They’ve agreed to reopen diplomatic relations and have even discussed improving defense ties. But the talks with Israel and requests for an alliance with the U.S. show that Saudi Arabia doesn’t consider Iran a friend.

Saudi Arabia also recently appointed its first-ever ambassador to Palestine and non-resident consul general to Jerusalem. But the Saudis couldn’t expect Israel to let a Palestinian state control Jerusalem in exchange for a Saudi Embassy building in Tel Aviv. Many see Saudi Arabia as the unofficial leader of the “moderate Arab bloc.” Any deal with Israel without some sort of concession to the Palestinians would destroy this reputation. When Egyptian President Anwar Sadat did that in 1978, he became a pariah in the Muslim world and was eventually assassinated. The Jerusalem consulate could be a face-saving measure, signaling that a deal between Israel and the Saudis is close.

On August 9, the Wall Street Journal reported that Saudi Arabia and the United States agreed to a normalization framework. “U.S. officials expressed cautious optimism that, in the next nine to 12 months, they can hammer out the finer details of what would be the most momentous Middle East peace deal in a generation,” the article stated. “Negotiators now have moved to discussing specifics, including addressing Saudi requests that the U.S. help them develop a civilian nuclear program and offer ironclad security guarantees. The Saudis are also seeking significant concessions from Israel that would help promote the creation of a Palestinian state.”

According to the Journal, citing “U.S. officials,” the Saudis demand concessions to the Palestinians as a prerequisite. But according to Netanyahu, the Palestinian question is more of a “checkbox” for both sides to tick.

Who is the checkbox for?

An August 8 article in Haaretz may hold the answer: Washington. The defense relationship Crown Prince Mohammed is asking for necessitates involvement of the U.S. Congress. No deal can happen without at least two thirds of senators green-lighting it. And the Democratic Party currently controls the Senate.

According to “one top congressional aid” Haaretz quoted, Prince Mohammed “may not care about the Palestinians and a two-state solution, but Congress certainly does.” Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen told Haaretz: “We continue to hear from the government of Israel that Mohammed bin Salman doesn’t [care] about Palestinian interests, but many of us believe that the long-term sustainable peace can only be secured by addressing the critical Palestinian questions.”

Netanyahu and Crown Prince Mohammed are not popular among Democrats. Both represent a reaction against progressive values. And many in Washington want both out of office.

Meanwhile, the current administration is doing everything it can to empower Iran, even creating an unofficial nuclear deal that all but guarantees Iran will get the bomb.

The Abraham Accords were meant in part to create an anti-Iran alliance between Israel and the Arab world. Saudi Arabia and Israel want to bring this anti-Iranian alliance to new levels.

The only reason Crown Prince Mohammed is interested in a nuclear program is to set up a dormant nuclear weapons program in case Iran reaches nuclear breakout. He also requested the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (thaad) missile defense system, which was deployed in Saudi Arabia until President Joe Biden pulled it out. Israel has always been terrified of Iranian intentions. But the Saudis’ demands show how terrified they are of Iran as well.

Meanwhile, the rule of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas is crumbling. Last month, Netanyahu’s government voted to stop the PA from falling apart. As Abbas loses his grip on power, Iran is filling the vacuum. Iranian proxy Hamas already controls the Gaza Strip. But Iran is also gaining control of the West Bank. In April, Iranian Gen. Hossein Salami claimed Iran’s “invisible hands” gave West Bank terrorists access to modern weaponry.

It remains to be seen what the “critical Palestinian questions” Congress wants addressed are. But if the statements from the Capitol and America’s treatment of Iran mean anything, they probably entail some sort of Israeli withdrawal or granting more autonomy. Anything like that would give Iran greater access to attack Israel through the West Bank.

The Abraham Accords were meant to help Israel’s security. The Israeli-Saudi deal in the works does the opposite. The Biden administration is hoping a Saudi Embassy in Tel Aviv is a high enough price to convince Netanyahu to loosen his grip on the West Bank. If this goes through, the West Bank will become an Iranian dagger pointed at Israel’s heart. This would bring about Israel’s destruction faster than nuclear weapons would.

The U.S. government is going out of its way to push this kind of diplomacy. This isn’t incompetence or naivety. It is an agenda.

As Herbert W. Armstrong proved in The United States and Britain in Prophecy, the American people are in part descendants of the ancient Israelites. This makes the U.S. a brother nation to the Jewish State of Israel. But spiritual forces are dividing these two brothers.

A prophecy in 2 Kings 14:26-27 reads: “For the Lord saw the affliction of Israel, that it was very bitter: for there was not any shut up, nor any left, nor any helper for Israel. And the Lord said not that he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven: but he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash.”

Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry writes in his booklet The King of the South:

The Bible shows that anciently, God raised up the kingdom of Israel to represent Him. Satan attacked that nation in every way he could. History shows that at one point, an enemy almost completely destroyed itbut God raised up a flawed human king to temporarily save the nation. …

It is important to understand the prophetic principle of duality. History is repeating itself today. Just what is the prophetic name of Israel? In our day, the emphasis is on three physical nations of Israel: America, Britain and the Jewish nation in the Middle East.

Iran’s mullahs publicly say they want to “wipe Israel off the map.” That is another way of saying they want to “blot out the name of Israel from under heaven”!

Since its Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iran has never been a friend of America or Israel. It’s no surprise that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei would want to “blot out the name of Israel from under heaven.” But what about America? Mr. Flurry continues:

Why in the world would an American president align with these murderers? And why implement a deal that virtually guarantees Iran becomes a nuclear power?

This prophetic passage in 2 Kings 14 explains. President Obama shares the goal to “blot out the name of Israel”!

Time will tell if an Israeli-Saudi deal takes place. But this spiritual perspective is needed as negotiations continue. To learn more, request a free copy of The King of the South.