Israeli-Saudi Peace Deal Hijacked by America

Joe Biden (right) meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the 78th United Nations General Assembly in New York City on September 20.
JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Israeli-Saudi Peace Deal Hijacked by America

Israel and Saudi Arabia are working toward a normalization agreement, but they are frustrated by the American-led mediation, Israel Hayom reported October 2. “Sources familiar with the ongoing talks” have reported that Israel and Saudi Arabia are willing to normalize relations, but the United States is complicating matters by involving the Palestinians.

One source noted that on the big issues—including a potential U.S.-Saudi defense alliance that would come alongside a new civilian nuclear program in the kingdom—there are no insurmountable gaps because the disagreements are not substantial. The source noted, though, that the American emphasis on the Palestinian aspect has been perceived as over the top and thus had the potential of undermining the entire process.

The criticism of the White House among Israeli figures and Saudi elements has been voiced behind closed doors. The officials stress that Riyadh is not part of the pressure on Israel to make major diplomatic concessions to the Palestinians.
Israel Hayom

Sticking point: In return for recognizing Israel, Saudi Arabia wants the U.S. to provide security guarantees and help set up a nuclear program. Previous reports suggested the nuclear program was the biggest sticking point, but it’s actually America’s demands for concessions for the Palestinians.

In August, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Palestinians were a sort of “check box” for the Saudis.

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.
—Benjamin Netanyahu

A deal for the Palestinians—or Iran? The agreements between Israel and Arab states that were negotiated under the Trump administration brought “peace for peace” while bypassing the Palestinian issue. But it appears U.S. President Joe Biden won’t let a Saudi deal happen with such a bypass.

The Gaza Strip and much of the West Bank are controlled by Iran-backed terrorist groups. The Western-backed Palestinian Authority controls much of the rest of the West Bank, but it is in financial turmoil and may soon collapse. Anything that lessens Israel’s influence in the Palestinian territories would be an opening for Iran, which views both Israel and Saudi Arabia as enemies.

This explains why neither side is eager to work with the Palestinians. But why would America go out of its way to help Iran?

To learn the answer, read “Is an Israel-Saudi Arabia Deal on the Horizon?