The US is considering defense deals with Israel and Saudi Arabia. That’s according to people at Bloomberg News. A major step must be taken to normalize diplomatic relations between the two countries, two of America’s most important allies in the Middle East.
Israel and Saudi Arabia have close ties to the United States, but they do not have formal relations with each other. The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is still a major sore point for many Muslim countries. In exchange for closer ties with Israel, the Saudis are reportedly demanding concessions to the Palestinians, security guarantees from the United States, access to modern American weapons, and help developing a nuclear program for peaceful purposes.
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The agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia would be a major diplomatic victory for President Joe Biden. He hopes to be re-elected next year. Israel could benefit diplomatically and economically from better relations with wealthy Saudi Arabia. That country’s de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, told Fox News this week that a deal was getting closer “every day.”
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A defense deal with Saudi Arabia is expected to be politically sensitive in Washington. The United States would be obligated to defend the great nation in the event of an attack. Therefore, it has been discussed with the Israeli authorities that the two defense agreements could be presented as part of a single package. That should increase the likelihood that US politicians who don’t want to harm Israel’s interests will agree.
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Bloomberg’s sources insist the talks could still break down. However, significant progress will be made. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday expressed hope for normalization of relations with Saudi Arabia. He told President Biden in New York that a ‘historic peace’ appeared possible thanks to US efforts.
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