Saturday, June 15, 2024

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    Saudi Arabia Issues Warning to U.S. Regarding Potential Israeli Invasion of Gaza

    The invasion could potentially incite unrest in neighboring countries, posing a significant threat to governments already grappling with economic hardships and political suppression, such as Bahrain, Egypt, and Jordan.

    Historically supporting Hamas, Iran has continuously backed regional militias hostile to Israel, hinting at the possibility of escalating the conflict based on Israel’s military response. Saudi Arabia remains a potential target amid these developments.

    Since the conflict’s onset, Saudi officials have reiterated the urgent need for a substantial Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

    Addressing reporters, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan emphasized the necessity of overcoming historical challenges to attain genuine peace and security in the region.

    Despite the increasing violence, both American and Saudi officials seem to cling to aspirations for a normalization deal with Israel. Without this formal step, the limited connections between the nations, only separated by a 22-mile drive through Jordan, have largely remained secretive.

    Senators departing Riyadh conveyed the impression that Saudi leaders retain an interest in recognizing Israel at an opportune moment.

    Both American and Israeli officials have often presented normalization as a means to counteract Iran, the most prominent regional rival to Saudi Arabia. Although Crown Prince Mohammed previously engaged in a Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, aiming to oust Iran-backed Houthi rebels, recent efforts have leaned toward a less aggressive approach, including re-establishing diplomatic ties with Iran. However, a potential Saudi Arabia-Israel pact appears improbable before the conclusion of Israel’s current operation, according to Mr. Blumenthal.

    During a recent call, Prince Mohammed and President Biden underscored the significance of striving for a sustainable peace between Israelis and Palestinians once the crisis subsides, according to statements from the White House and the Saudi government. However, neither statement explicitly mentioned a Palestinian state.

    Insights from sources familiar with Saudi discussions suggest that before the conflict erupted, Saudi officials were pursuing a potential deal that included a path to statehood for Palestinians.

    Framing the prospect of cultivating ties with Israel as a means to advocate for Palestinian rights could serve to temper domestic opposition in Saudi Arabia, where sentiments favoring the Palestinians and opposing Israel are widespread.

    When questioned about the Saudi alerts, the State Department affirmed its commitment to a more stable, prosperous, and integrated Middle East region, focusing on normalization and advancement toward a two-state solution, despite current diplomatic efforts being primarily directed at the immediate crisis. Notably, discussions between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia had previously concentrated more on Saudi security demands than on the Palestinian issue.

    In an essay by Jake Sullivan, the U.S. national security adviser, published on the Foreign Affairs site, commitment to a two-state solution is reiterated, but it’s crucial to note that the essay’s initial version, printed before the recent attacks on Oct. 7, made no explicit mention of Palestinian nationhood, emphasizing instead the Biden administration’s efforts in de-escalating Gaza crises. Subsequent revisions reflect a more comprehensive stance on the Palestinian issue.

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