Hamas Puts Water on US’s Saudi-Israeli Normalization Plans
The US is scrambling for what’s left of its Saudi-Israeli normalization plans after Hamas dropped the heavy bomb last week, and now the ongoing Israel-Gaza war. Saudi Arabia has once again reiterated its call to cease military escalation against civilians in Palestine.
The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs said depriving the residents of Gaza of basic needs for a decent life is a violation of international humanitarian law, and will exacerbate the gravity of the crisis and the suffering in the region.
Palestinians Nothing to Do With Hamas
With reports suggesting that Saudi has paused talks with Israel and the US, Washington is scrambling to prevent relations from fracturing further. US President Joe Biden took a softer tone for the Palestinians. “We can’t lose sight of the fact that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians had nothing to do with Hamas. And they are suffering as a result as well.”
A week before Hamas launched Operation Al Aqsa Flood on Israel, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reiterated the two-state solution for the Israel-Palestine conflict. The Biden administration, as per reports, also is committed to a two-state resolution.
John Kirby, US National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, said they want to make sure that the Israeli people know that the US is supporting them, and they have the right to defend themselves. “But that doesn’t mean that we’re abandoning the idea of a two-state solution.” He highlighted that President Biden believes an independent state for Palestine and an independent state for the Israelis remains the best path forward for peace and security in the Middle East.
Saudi Didn’t Condemn Hamas Attack
Aziz Alghashian, a Saudi analyst, pointed out that normalization talks or plans with Israel has also been a taboo and treaded cautiously on in the Arab world. The Arabs hold Palestine close to their heart, and sidelining the Palestinians cannot be imagined. Moreover, the US pressed Riyadh this week to condemn the Hamas attack, but this didn’t happen. And this saw Saudi Arab get closer to Iran.
Fred Kempe, CEO of the Atlantic Council, says Saudi and Israel normalization is a big victim of the escalating Israel-Hamas war. He said US officials spent a lot of time in Israel and in Saudi Arabia. “There was the prospect of a deal, maybe if not by the end of the year, by the beginning of next year, people were giving a 50-50 chance.”
But right now, there’s a zero chance. Kempe believes the Saudis won’t be able to go forward with it. “Part of the deal would have been Netanyahu reaching some sort of accommodation with the Palestinians. That’s not going to happen right now.”