While the US is trying to conclude a normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia, neither Tel Aviv nor Washington is willing to pay the price for it.
For months, the Biden administration has been restlessly trying to extend the Abraham Accords to Saudi Arabia and conclude a normalization deal between Tel Aviv and Riyadh. But since the oil-rich Kingdom has made clear what the costs of agreeing to establish relations with Israel are, there has been created a dispute between the US and Israel that only grows day by day.
In one of the latest rounds of verbal conflict between Washington and Tel Aviv, the former has told Israel that it must make real concessions for the Palestinians if it is to pursue and establish a deal to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia.
According to a report released this Sunday by the news outlet Axios, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken informed Israel’s Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer during his recent visit to Washington that Israel is “misreading the situation” if it believes it does not have to grant concessions to the Palestinians in order to satisfy Saudi Arabia in a potential deal.
“Concessions to Palestinians are necessary as a demonstration of tangible results to other Arab and Muslim countries and will encourage them to normalize relations with Israel,” Blinken said.
The report further noted that during the same visit to Washington, Dermer also met with the US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, where Sullivan told him that “President Joe Biden seeks extensive support from congressional Democrats for a Saudi-Israeli normalization agreement, with concessions to Palestinians being a primary way of ensuring that takes place”.
A dilemma that only grows day by day
Despite US efforts to convince Israel to make some concessions to get the normalization deal done with Saudi Arabia, the report read that Israel refuses to the idea of any Israeli guarantee of more open policy toward Palestinians and their statehood and insists that Tel Aviv’s agreement to allow Riyadh to develop a civilian nuclear program is already enough of a concession and gesture to the oil-rich Persian Gulf country.
It was in fact clear as crystal from day one that Israel won’t make such concession simply because the latest Netanyahu government’s policies towards the Palestinians make it difficult to create favorable conditions for progress in Israeli-Saudi relations. In other words, the current government in Israel consists by far of the most violent and resist ministers, most of whom have a long-listed record of anti-Palestinian moves and words.
But it is not just Israel that is not willing to pay the price of normalization with Saudi Arabia. The US is also facing mounting pressure from inside not to agree with the conditions that the Kingdom has set forward to agree to a normalization deal with Israel.
Although both Biden and Netanyahu need to broker such normalization before the next presidential election campaign in both countries, neither side is willing to succumb to Saudi demands. In Washington, those who oppose to the idea that the US should agree to Saudi demands say that America doesn’t need to make such huge concessions to Riyadh because it doesn’t need Riyadh anymore.
Israel also fears that agreeing to Saudi demands, which means supplying advanced US weapons to them, will weaken Israel’s regional military hegemony. In addition, Tel Aviv believes that Saudi Arabia’s entry into the nuclear club would have serious repercussions on regional nuclear proliferation, and will make other countries such as Egypt and Turkey, for example, to make similar demands in the future.