President Joe Biden has asserted that the recent series of attacks by Hamas on Israel were, in part, an attempt to undermine the progressing diplomatic relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia. The President made these comments during a campaign fundraiser event held in Washington on Friday.
Biden revealed that Saudi Arabia had expressed its intent to recognize Israel and work towards fostering unity in the Middle East. He further stated that Hamas was aware of his upcoming discussions with Saudi officials. As of now, President Biden has maintained that the possibility of normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia is still viable, albeit it may take some time.
However, these discussions have faced interruptions in the wake of Hamas’s attacks on October 7, which were followed by Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. The situation has raised concerns in Riyadh regarding the well-being of Palestinians in Gaza, with reports indicating casualties from the airstrikes.
Saudi Arabia, a supporter of the US-brokered Abraham Accords, which led to the normalization of ties between the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain with Israel in 2020, has yet to formally recognize Israel. The Biden administration has been actively promoting improved relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, both of which are key allies in the Middle East.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia had previously mentioned in an interview with Fox News in September that the normalization of ties was advancing daily, but he also emphasized that resolving the Palestinian issue remains a critical factor in reaching an agreement.
Furthermore, discussions between President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the United Nations General Assembly indicated that a deal was “within reach.” In a separate development, Israel and Saudi Arabia have joined approximately two dozen countries in a collaborative effort to establish a rail and shipping corridor, as announced by President Biden during the G20 summit held in India.