Israel growing frustrated with US over normalization with Saudi Arabia

Middle East Monitor  /  October 4, 2023

There is growing frustration between Israel and the US administration over the possible normalization of ties between Tel Aviv and Riyadh, Israel Hayom revealed on Monday. According to the Hebrew daily, the reason is Washington’s insistence that Israel should make considerable concessions to the Palestinians as part of the deal with Riyadh.

For the US, such measures are needed as a means of moving forward in the normalisation process that would see a trilateral agreement among the three countries. Sources familiar with the ongoing talks said that the Biden administration’s focus on this matter has had the effect of hampering momentum and impeded would-be breakthroughs.

One source is reported as saying that the American emphasis on the Palestinian aspect has been perceived as “over the top” and thus has the potential to undermine the whole process.

Ten days ago, Haaretz reported the US telling Israel that it would have to make substantial concessions to the Palestinians in any deal to normalize relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia. The far-right coalition government led by Benjamin Netanyahu would find it hard to make such concessions.

The newspaper said that the message from the US was conveyed to the Israelis during the recent visit by Israel’s Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer to Washington. Dermer met with Biden administration officials, including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

Israeli Hayom said that the US had asked Israel to allow the reopening of an independent US Consulate General in Jerusalem that would effectively serve as a diplomatic mission to the Palestinians.

Israel has said that it is not ready to offer substantial concessions such as those always demanded by the Palestinians and Arab leaders, including a halt to settlement expansion and allowing the creation of an independent Palestinian state.