Seizing the moment for Israeli-Saudi ties


The prospect of an Israeli-Saudi normalization treaty holds immense potential for transforming the entire region, particularly Israel. Saudi Arabia, long regarded as a leader in the Sunni world due to its custodianship of Mecca and Medina, stands as a pivotal player. Its vast resources provide freedoms that other regional powers like Egypt cannot afford.

A normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia would bestow legitimacy upon Israel in the eyes of numerous Muslim nations. Such a treaty, while facing significant challenges, offers a gateway for Israel to foster unprecedented strategic, economic, and technological collaborations with countries that have silently awaited this opportunity.

Despite historical rhetoric against Israel, many Muslim nations have recognized the potential benefits of normalizing relations with Israel, especially in terms of Western support, particularly from the United States.

Such an agreement, however, primarily serves American and Saudi interests, with Israel holding a veto due to its agreements with the US and its influence in American politics.

Saudi Arabia seeks regional stability, a prerequisite for global influence, and aims to mitigate disruptions, such as the Houthi rebels in Yemen, backed by Iran. The recent Memorandum of Understanding between Riyadh and Tehran signaled a temporary uncertainty, but Saudi Crown Prince’s subsequent interview clarified that normalization with Israel is on the horizon.

The Biden administration has a vested interest in marking significant achievements within the framework of the Abraham Accords. It aims to secure Israeli concessions for the Palestinians, a goal that aligns more with US interests than those of the Saudi leadership. The US is also wary of China’s growing influence in the Middle East, as seen in its mediation of the Iranian-Saudi MOU.

If Israel agrees to concessions for normalization with Saudi Arabia, it must ensure the preservation of its military superiority, a fundamental aspect of its security. The demand for Saudi nuclear enrichment capabilities for civilian purposes poses challenges that require careful consideration.

However, beyond military and technological concerns, this negotiation offers a unique opportunity for Israel to condition its consent on ending the ongoing incitement present in Jordanian and Palestinian curricula. The UAE has already made significant changes to its curriculum, fostering tolerance and balance. Qatar and Saudi Arabia have also undertaken curriculum reforms, while Egypt has allowed international bodies to review its curriculum for moderation.

Yet, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority have remained resistant to change, maintaining hate-filled messages in their curricula. As Israel faces demands for concessions toward the Palestinians, it should also demand reciprocal actions from the Palestinians and Jordanians in the context of regional negotiations. This moment presents an unparalleled opportunity that should not be squandered.


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