Saudi silent over Israel deal but covert ties under focus

Saudi silent over Israel deal but covert ties under focus


Riyadh: Analysts say that the UAE’s decision to restore normal relations with Israel may prompt Saudi Arabia to deepen its sneaky ties with the Jewish state, as Riyadh seeks to attract investment to fund ambitious economic transformation.

On Thursday, the United Arab Emirates became the first Gulf country to normalize relations with Israel in a historic agreement between the United States and the United States, which raised the prospect of similar deals with other Arab countries.

Saudi Arabia, the largest economy in the Arab world, has kept a clear silence on the deal, but local officials hinted that despite the pressure from the United States, Riyadh is unlikely to immediately follow in the footsteps of its main regional allies.

President Donald Trump’s son and adviser Jared Kushner insisted on Monday that it is in Riyadh’s interest to formally establish relations with Israel.

“It would be very good for Saudi business, it would very good for Saudi s defence, and, quite frankly, I think it would also help the Palestinian people,” Kushner said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu further stated on Monday that the country is highly anticipated, saying that Israel is working to establish a corridor for flights to the UAE over Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia is the location of Islam’s holiest place. It faces more sensitive political decisions than the UAE. Saudi Arabia did not immediately cause public reaction.

The Palestinians and their supporters not only see the official recognition of Israel as a betrayal of their cause, but also damage the country’s image as the leader of the Islamic world.

However, Saudi Arabia has established secret ties with Israel in recent years. Although Prince Mohammed bin Salman (Mohammed bin Salman) led this transformation, his father King Salman expressed his firm support for an independent Palestinian state. .

“The UAE-Israeli normalisation lends itself to expanding the realm of indirect Saudi-Israeli relations,” said Aziz Alghashian, a lecturer at Essex University specialising in the kingdom s policy towards Israel.

“I think Saudi-Israeli interactions will increase via the UAE.”

Common hostility towards Iran and Saudi Arabia’s attempt to attract foreign funds to fund Prince Mohammed’s ambitious “Vision 2030” economic diversification plan seem to be bringing the country closer to Israel than ever before.

The core of Vision 2030 is NEOM, a megacity on the west coast of Saudi Arabia with a planned investment of US$500 billion. Observers said that Saudi Arabia needs Israel’s expertise in manufacturing, biotechnology, and cybersecurity.

The creation of NEOM “requires peace and coordination with Israel, especially if the city is to have a chance of becoming a tourist attraction,” said Mohammad Yaghi, a research fellow at Germany s Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.

NEOM is set to be built close to the Israeli resort town of Eilat, along the geopolitically sensitive waters of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba.

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