The United States has begun a new round of efforts to bring Saudi Arabia into the war game in Gaza, a move that benefits Israel in the end not the Kingdom.
This past Wednesday, the White House national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, paid a visit to Saudi Arabia and met the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to discuss the latest developments of the war in Gaza and efforts towards creating sustainable peace between Israel and Palestine.
According to a statement by the US White House, the two officials discussed “a number of bilateral and regional matters, including ongoing efforts to create new conditions for an enduring and sustainable peace between Israelis and Palestinians.” Sullivan and MBS also discussed the humanitarian response in Gaza, including possible ways to boost the flow of vital aid to the Gazans.
Saudi media also reported that in addition to the war in Gaza, the two officials had talks regarding deepening bilateral cooperation in the fields of security, commerce, space exploration, and advanced radar and radio technologies.
As the war continues in Gaza, Israel has killed more than 20,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children. This high number of casualties, along with the inhumane situation in Gaza and the possibility of famine, has worried even the United States as Israel’s top supporter of the war to think a way out of the crisis and end the bloody war.
But this point is that despite the Biden administration has asked Israel many times since October 7 to agree on a peace deal, Israel’s far-right government has dismissed the idea and insisted that the war will continue until Hamas is completely destroyed.
Washington now plans to bring Saudi Arabia into the war game
For decades, US policy has been to use Egypt and Jordan as the main interlocutors in Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. But in recent years, both countries have lost their position at the top of Arab-Israeli relations due to economic and political instabilities.
The Biden administration now seems to have changed its course in this regard as many think tanks in Washington are giving signals to American policy makers about the role that Saudi Arabia can play in the Gaza war.
National Interest, for example, wrote in an op-ed this Saturday that “at the same time as Israel is destroying Hamas forces, America should directly bring Saudi Arabia into the game. Riyadh’s relations with Cairo and Amman are quite good. Therefore, the Saudis can benefit from the expertise and experience of Egypt and Jordan in better resolving the Palestinian issue if they are convinced to take a more responsible role in the Gaza war.”
The op-ed also continues that Saudi Arabia’s financial power “could attract Palestinian loyalists.” This is mostly because they are now disillusioned with the financial support of impoverished Egypt and Jordan. That’s why Hamas is now trying to receive money from Qatar and Turkey. The recent visit of the Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh to Doha was precisely for this very purpose to get Qatar’s financial support to achieve the goals after the Palestinian war in Gaza.
Maybe that’s why Washington insisted on the continuation of efforts for normalization of ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia even amid the war in Gaza. The US knows that normalization of Israel’s relations with rich Saudi Arabia will help the Jewish state, which is currently facing many economic problems, to get through the current costly war with minimal economic damage.
It is clear that for decision makers in Washington, bringing Riyadh into the war game in Gaza is the best way for helping Israel. But will Saudi Arabia accept this offer, and will it be beneficial for the Kingdom to play in the court of Biden and Netanyahu? Time will tell.