Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Seeks to Normalize Relations With Saudi Arabia

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently proclaimed that the United States must “reaffirm” its alliance with Saudi Arabia. In addition, Netanyahu stressed that his government will seek to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia during his time in office.

“I think that the alliance, the traditional (US) alliance with Saudi Arabia and other countries, has to be reaffirmed. There should not be periodic swings, or even wild swings in this relationship, because I think that the alliance between America’s allies and with America is the anchor of stability in our region,” Netanyahu said in an interview with Al-Arabiya English.

Netanyahu’s comments about Saudi Arabia came after the Biden regime and congressional Democrats pushed for a change in the US-Saudi relationship as a response to OPEC oil production cuts in October. However, no substantial changes in US-Saudi relations have materialized thus far. 

Netanyahu said that he plans to talk about the Saudi relationship with Biden. “I think it requires periodic reaffirmation, and I’m to speak to President Biden about it,” he stated. 

Netanyahu said he wants to build upon the progress his government made on the Abraham Accords, which were originally signed in 2020 and help Israel establish diplomatic ties with Bahrain and the UAE. Netanyahu believes it’s “up to the leadership of Saudi Arabia if they want to partake in this effort” as far as bolstering ties with the Israelis go.

The Saudis have stressed the necessity of the Israelis conceding to the concept of establishing a Palestinian state not only for the sake of bringing peace to the Middle East but also as a precondition for fully normalizing Saudi-Israeli relations.

The Israeli-Saudi rapprochement makes sense from a geopolitical standpoint. Time generally heals all wounds, as Arab states are not as anti-Israel like they were in the early days of the Jewish state’s founding.

In addition, the rise of Iran and Turkey has worried many Arab states about the potential that these two countries may make play for regional hegemony. It’s often forgotten how during Iran and Turkey’s imperial pasts they largely subjugated many Arab states and prevented them from exercising sovereignty. 

With Iran and Turkey no longer imperial powers, Arab states can finally enjoy historically unprecedented sovereignty. It also helps that the US is the primary security guarantor in the Middle East. However, with the US pivoting to Asia to contain China, it will be less focused on the Middle East. 

In turn, Arab states will need to find a new security partner(s) to maintain their sovereignty. Israel fits the bill here. On top of that, Israel will need to engage with its Arab neighbors to maintain its legitimacy and prepare itself for a Middle East that will not have the US as actively engaged in security affairs.

Indeed, there are new geopolitical realities emerging and countries ranging from the US to Israel will have to readjust to this environment.

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