In a meeting that is essentially unprecedented, the leaders of Israel and Saudi Arabia met yesterday evening in Saudia Arabia.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Saudi Arabia Sunday night to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The meeting is the first known encounter between senior officials from the enemy states. Yossi Cohen, Israel’s chief spy and head of the Mossad, also attended the meeting, as did U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Netanyahu reportedly kept his trip a secret from alternate Israeli Prime Minister Benny Gantz and foreign minister Gaby Ashkenazi.
Prior to the election, and at about the time that the UAE and Bahrain had signed peace accords with Israel, there were rumors that Saudi Arabia would follow suit, but only after the re-election of Trump. While the Arab country’s covert relations with Israel in recent years have been generally improving, such a public agreement would have signaled a major change, including a public admission that the Saudis were no longer tying their diplomatic relations to Palestinian demands.
I suspect the two leaders met to discuss whether that a public agreement now makes sense, given the strong possibility of an anti-Israeli and anti-Saudi American government under Joe Biden (who has already said he wishes to reinstate the Iran deal and reopen ties with that country).
In other words, as expected, a Joe Biden victory might very well cause the cancelling of this major peace deal. I hope not, but it would be understandable for Saudi Arabia, faced with an invigorated hostile Iran to the north, now getting aid from the U.S..
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