Pursuing Saudi-Israeli Normalization Is a Fool’s Errand

The administration’s push for this agreement is a waste of time and energy that should be spent on pursuing a ceasefire and reducing regional tensions.

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The Biden administration still hasn’t given up on its terrible plan for a Saudi-Israeli normalization deal. The Wall Street Journal reports:

The Biden administration is pushing for a long-shot diplomatic deal in coming months that presses Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accept a new commitment to Palestinian statehood in exchange for diplomatic recognition by Riyadh, U.S. and Saudi officials said.

The outlines of the deal are the same as they have been for the last year: the U.S. bribes the Saudis with major favors and commitments, the Saudis agree to recognize Israel, and the Israeli government doesn’t have to do much of anything. This was a terrible deal for the United States last year, it was a terrible deal before the start of the war in Gaza six months ago, and it will still be a terrible deal six months from now. The Biden administration would have the U.S. bear the burden of making this deal happen, and in return the U.S. gets saddled with more long-term security commitments to another awful client state.

As bad as the deal is for the U.S. because of the extensive concessions to Saudi Arabia, it’s still far from certain that the Saudis would be willing to go for it. The war in Gaza has made any dealings with Israel politically radioactive in Saudi Arabia and throughout the region. Even a repressive despot like Mohammed bin Salman would be hard-pressed to ignore popular sentiment right now. The crown prince can also afford to wait for a better offer if Trump is voted back in.

The Biden administration has been desperate to lock down a normalization agreement so that Biden has something, anything, that he can point to as a diplomatic success during his campaign, but the agreement is still very unlikely to be concluded. The Israeli government absolutely opposes a Palestinian state. Even if we assume that the Saudis would be willing to accept token gestures in lieu of real concessions, the Israeli government might balk at anything that even hints at statehood.

Read the rest of the article at Eunomia

Daniel Larison is a contributing editor for Antiwar.com and maintains his own site at Eunomia. He is former senior editor at The American Conservative. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

6 thoughts on “Pursuing Saudi-Israeli Normalization Is a Fool’s Errand”

  1. For the Saudis to side with Israel on anything, would be a betrayal of their Muslim Faith. You can NOT practice Islam and be friendly with a Government committing Genocide against any group, but especially your Islamic Family. If Israel wants Peace, they need to stop KILLING for Land, stop the Illegal Occupation of Palestine and until then, NO Arab/Muslim/African/Democratic Nation should be doing business with Israel. I hope the Israeli People, the Non-Zionist, wake up soon and try to save themselves, save their nation.

    1. Christians need to take note. Christian churches have been bombed in Gaza by Israel. The Armenians in East Jerusalem are under siege by the Zionist settlers. Areas of their church, which has been there since the 4th Century, have been damaged. What the Zionists mean when they say “a land without a people,for people without a land” they mean a land without non-Jews.

  2. Israel established diplomatic ties with certain Arab Nations but Saudi Arabia draws the line. China did a great job getting Saudi Arabia and Iran to re-establish diplomatic ties. Saudi Arabia will not establish diplomatic ties with Israel due to the war and genocide in Gaza and says Arab Nations that established diplomatic ties with Israel should break them.

  3. “America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy,” and since it has, it has become the monster, a baby-killing genocidal monster.

  4. Israeli’s need to mature and understand that George Washington the first President of the United States of America was and is right, the following quote is from his farewell address “ The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest.” “ So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, “

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