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Efforts for Saudi-Israel normalization continue

Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer is scheduled to meet the Saudi ambassador to Washington in pursuit of an historic agreement.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman leaving a mosque in Riyadh, March 7, 2022. Credit: murathakanart/Shutterstock.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman leaving a mosque in Riyadh, March 7, 2022. Credit: murathakanart/Shutterstock.

Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer’s agenda for his upcoming trip to Washington includes not only discussions on the planned IDF anti-terrorism campaign in Rafah, but the continued efforts to normalize ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia as well, Israel Hayom reports.

Dermer is scheduled to meet with Saudi Ambassador to Washington Reema bint Bandar Al Saud to discuss the U.S.-led effort. Scheduled for next week, the trip might be postponed. Dermer’s office has denied the report.

Meanwhile, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan postponed a planned trip to Riyadh last week after cracking his ribs. This was supposed to be a crucial visit in which the final details of the accord between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia were supposed to be finalized. The meeting is expected to be held once Sullivan has recovered.

A political source told Israel Hayom that there is a window of opportunity until May to secure the historic agreement. There are principal agreements between the leaders of the three countries, but there are also significant obstacles.

Israel will not agree to commit to stopping its anti-terrorism operation in Gaza but rather will demand freedom of action across the Strip, similar to that it has in Judea and Samaria.

Furthermore, Israel has rejected the demand for a commitment to establish a Palestinian state in the future. Jerusalem also insists that there should be no nuclear program development on Saudi soil.

In related news, The New York Times reported on Thursday night that former U.S. President and presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump recently spoke with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

It is unclear what the two men discussed, and whether it was the first conversation between Trump and MBS since the former left office in 2021.

In an interview with Israel Hayom, Trump said that Israel has to “finish up your war. You gotta get it done. And, I am sure you will do that. And we gotta get to peace, we can’t have this going on. … And you have to get on to peace, to get on to a normal life for Israel, and for everybody else.”

Originally published by Israel Hayom.

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