Bin Salman uses the tactic of gradual progress towards Israel 

The Biden administration has set itself the goal of achieving a breakthrough in relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia in the next six months, before the campaign for the US presidential elections. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has set a series of demands to the US and Israel as a condition for a normalization agreement, he prefers to progress towards the agreement in a gradual manner with a mechanism of close supervision of the various stages.



A senior political official says that the United States is the main mediator between Israel and Saudi Arabia for the purpose of obtaining a normalization agreement between the two countries and that the Biden administration is making a great political effort to bring about a breakthrough in the matter in the coming months until the start of the campaign for the presidential elections in the United States. 

President Biden wants to achieve a normalization agreement between Saudi Arabia and Israel in order to present it as an important achievement in the electoral process in view of the harsh criticism of his administration following the great erosion of the US position in the Middle East and the entry of Russia and China into the vacuum left by the US, as expressed in the agreement on the renewal of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran which was achieved through the mediation of China. 

Not everyone in the US Congress is enthusiastic, to say the least, about the great energy that the Biden administration is investing in achieving a normalization agreement between Saudi Arabia and Israel. 

Next month, American Secretary of State Tony Blinken will visit Saudi Arabia and will also try to promote the issue, but the Democratic Party has not forgotten the role of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the human rights violations in Saudi Arabia and the Saudi bombing of Yemen. 

Even the Saudi crown prince himself is not enthusiastic about providing such an achievement to President Biden, who boycotted him for a long time and refused to shake his hand, he may prefer to wait until after the American presidential elections and perhaps give the achievement to a Republican president if and when he is elected, one thing is clear, Mohammed bin Salman is in no hurry to nowhere. 

In the meantime, he is examining the possibility of approving direct flights from Israel to Saudi Arabia next month for the Muslims from among the Israeli Arabs who want to make the pilgrimage to Mecca (Haj).   

 Saudi demands    

Saudi Arabia has several demands from the Biden administration and Israel as a condition for a normalization agreement between it and Israel, it is very doubtful whether the administration and the right-wing government in Israel will be ready to comply with all of them, in the end it is an agreement of interests that also includes red lines. 

Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman demands that the US unfreeze arms deals with Saudi Arabia that were frozen by the Biden administration, he wants a defense alliance between Saudi Arabia and the US as NATO member states have and also that the US help him build a uranium enrichment facility. 


As for Israel, the Saudi Crown Prince demands an immediate renewal of the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians on the basis of the Arab peace initiative from 2002 on the way to the establishment of a Palestinian state whose capital is East Jerusalem. 

This demand was also reflected in the decisions of the Arab Summit Conference in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. 

He is willing for the progress to be gradual but requires a mechanism to oversee the negotiations with timetables so that Israel will not  drag its feet. 

Two factors influence the Saudi crown prince in everything related to the normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia. 

The first factor is the Palestinian Authority, which strongly opposes such an agreement as long as no solution to the Palestinian problem is reached. Senior officials in the Palestinian Authority claim that the Saudi Crown Prince personally promised Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas that he would not sign any agreement with Israel without a solution to the Palestinian problem. . 

The second factor is Iran, which recently signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia on the renewal of diplomatic relations between them. Iran is strongly opposed to a normalization agreement between Saudi Arabia and Israel, and it holds in its hand an important card in which the heir to the Saudi throne, bin Salman, is very interested, and that is the cessation of the war in Yemen, Iran is the one that controls the Houthi rebels. in Yemen. 

It seems that Mohammed bin Salman will have to maneuver well through all the bumps on the way to a normalization agreement with Israel, senior American officials claim that such an agreement is only a matter of time and that the Middle East is undergoing far-reaching changes in which all countries are talking to each other and are interested in reducing regional tensions and improving their economic situation. 

The position of the US in the Middle East is weakening, Russia and China have entered the vacuum that has been created and Iran has already become a nuclear threshold country, the Gulf countries and Saudi Arabia in particular fear it and are not interested in a military conflict with it, however, the Biden administration has not given up its influence in the Middle East and is now trying to balance the picture through the achievement of a normalization agreement between Saudi Arabia and Israel. 

Mohammed bin Salman sees himself as the next king of Saudi Arabia, so far he has created important internal changes within Saudi Arabia itself, he already sees himself as a world leader who wants to reduce the friction between Arab countries and bridge the gaps between them, that is why he initiated the return of Syria to the Arab League and is trying to mediate the war in Sudan. 

He wants to reduce the friction between the Sunni camp and the Shia camp led by Iran and believes that a temporary ceasefire can be achieved between the two camps and he also wants to bring about a significant breakthrough in the stalled negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. 


His tactic is to move forward with slow and calculated steps to achieve his goals without quarreling with any party, Israel and the Palestinians will have to show great patience and goodwill, the gaps are huge and there is no trust between the two sides, one thing is probably certain, bin Salman will be very careful not to break his promises to the chairman of the PA. 

Yoni Ben Menachem Senior Middle East Analyst

About Yoni Ben Menachem

Yoni Ben Menachem is a Middle East senior analyst ,a journalist and
the former CEO of the Israel Broadcasting Authority(IBA). He has
decades of experience in written and video journalism. Ben
Menachem’s path in the media world began as a producer for
Japanese television in the Middle East. After that, he held many key
positions in the media The Israeli: CEO of the Israel Broadcasting
Authority, director of “Kol Israel” Radio, reporter on West Bank and
Gaza Strip affairs, political reporter and commentator, commentator
on Middle East affairs and editor-in-chief and presenter of the
program “Middle East Magazine”. 

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