US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia Near Historic Deal on Normalizing Relations

The US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia are nearing a historic agreement to normalize relations, contingent on a pathway to Palestinian statehood. The deal would include security guarantees for Saudi Arabia and US investments in AI, quantum computing, and nuclear energy.

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Hadeel Hashem
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US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia Near Historic Deal on Normalizing Relations

US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia Near Historic Deal on Normalizing Relations

The United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia are on the verge of a historic agreement that would normalize relations between the two Middle Eastern nations, marking a significant shift in regional dynamics. The deal, which is part of a larger package including security guarantees for Saudi Arabia and a path to Palestinian statehood, could be finalized in the coming weeks.

Why this matters: This agreement has the potential to reshape the geopolitical dynamics of the Middle East, offering a new path forward for Israeli-Palestinian relations and potentially countering Iranian influence in the region. A successful deal could also have significant implications for global security and stability. A successful deal could also have significant implications for global security and stability.

According to State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller, "We are very close to reaching an agreement on the bilateral pieces of the package between the United States and Saudi Arabia. There are a few details that we have to continue to work through, but we think we can reach agreement on those details in a very short order."

The normalization component of the deal hinges on Israel agreeing to create a pathway for a future Palestinian state. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized that "two things will be required – calm in Gaza and a credible pathway to a Palestinian state" for normalization to move forward. Blinken believes achieving a Palestinian state would be a "profound rebuke" to Iran and Hamas, who have opposed a two-state solution.

In exchange for normalization, Saudi Arabia would receive major US investments in artificial intelligence and quantum computing, assistance in building out its civilian nuclear program, and access to advanced US weapons previously off-limits. The kingdom would also limit Chinese technology from its most sensitive networks.

For Israel, the deal would bring formal diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia, the largest economy in the Middle East and the guardian of Islam's holiest sites. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has long coveted this goal, but his right-wing government has all but ruled out a two-state solution, a key condition for Saudi Arabia.

The pact faces significant obstacles, including the need for US Senate approval and potential opposition from lawmakers wary of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman following the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) warned,"Without normalizing the Israeli-Saudi relationship and ensuring the security needs of Israel regarding the Palestinian file, there would be very few votes for a mutual defense agreement between the US and Saudi Arabia."

Despite the challenges, US President Joe Biden sees the deal as a chance for a foreign policy victory before the November presidential election. The latest conversations represent a shift in approach for Biden and Prince Mohammed, with the US and Saudi Arabia now viewing a deal with each other as central to ending the war between Israel and Hamas.

As negotiations continue, the world watches closely to see if this historic agreement will come to fruition. The implications of such a deal could be profound, reshaping the geopolitical dynamics of the Middle East and offering a glimmer of hope for a long-elusive peace between Israelis and Palestinians. However, with significant challenges remaining, the outcome depends on whether the parties involved can overcome their differences and forge a new path forward.

Key Takeaways

  • US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia near historic agreement to normalize relations.
  • Deal includes security guarantees for Saudi Arabia and a path to Palestinian statehood.
  • Israel must agree to a pathway for a future Palestinian state for normalization.
  • Saudi Arabia would receive US investments and access to advanced weapons in exchange.
  • Deal faces obstacles, including US Senate approval and opposition from lawmakers.