“US-Saudi relations advancing towards normalization” – The Jerusalem Post

The United States and Saudi Arabia have made “good progress” in talks on normalizing ties between the kingdom and Israel, according to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. There is optimism for reaching an agreement, which Blinken believes would be historic not only for the two nations but for the entire region. Talks on normalization had been paused after the October 7 attack by Palestinian Hamas fighters and Israel’s response, but discussions have resumed in recent months.

The Biden administration is actively working towards securing a deal, with Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries emphasizing the need for the creation of a Palestinian state as part of any agreement. Blinken discussed these topics with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during an official visit to Jeddah.

Oil protection for normalization: Middle East reshaping

The possibility of a pact offering US military protection to Saudi Arabia in exchange for normalization would have significant implications for the Middle East, bringing together two historical adversaries and strengthening ties between Riyadh and Washington amidst increasing Chinese presence in the region. However, Israel’s agreement to a pathway for an independent Palestinian state is crucial for the deal to progress, a condition that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has resisted.

Washington envisions any normalization deal as part of post-war planning, including security guarantees from Arab nations for Israel in exchange for the establishment of a Palestinian state under a reformed Palestinian Authority.