In the May 26 issue of The Jewish Press, we spotlighted indications that the Biden administration and Saudi Arabia had begun colluding to use Israel-Saudi Arabia normalization as a wedge issue in getting Israel to go along with the so-called “two-state solution,” a Biden obsession (“Israel and Saudi Arabia: Is The Plot Thickening?”). It now appears that getting Israel to mute its criticism of a new nuclear arrangement with Iran – another Biden obsession – has been added to the mix.

Last month, The New York Times reported that the Saudis were deep in discussions with the Biden administration about normalizing relations with Israel – and the price they would exact from the United States for doing so. Citing “people familiar with the exchanges,” The New York Times said that the Saudis were looking for “help with developing a civilian nuclear program and fewer restrictions on U.S. arms sales.”


We also noted that, according to the Times, despite the Saudis long insistence that they could not normalize relations with Israel until the Israel-Palestinian conflict was resolved, that issue was not part of the discussions and was no longer a key point for the Saudis. The publication pointed to the earlier Saudi support for the decisions of other Arab states to join the Abraham Accords, as well as the increase in interactions between Israel and Saudi Arabia in recent years.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, came this May 19 statement from the Saudi Crown Prince during a meeting of the Arab League: “We will not delay in providing assistance to the Palestinian people in recovering their lands, restoring their legitimate rights and establishing an independent state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. The Palestinian issue was and remains the central issue for Arab countries, and it is at the top of the kingdom’s priorities.”

Our takeaway was that, perhaps at the instance of the Biden team, a dynamic designed to pressure Israel into accepting a two-state solution along the 1967 lines has come into play.

We were therefore intrigued by the news this past week of both an imminent new nuclear deal with Iran – a result favored both by the Saudis and the Biden administration – and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken doubling down on efforts to get the Saudis to agree to normalization with Israel.

The New York Times carried both stories on the front page, and while we have no direct evidence of an orchestrated effort on the part of the Biden administration to link the two stories, the facts do lend themselves to that hypothesis.

Indeed, Israel Hayom is flat out reporting that the U.S. is seeking to silence Israeli opposition to the new proposed nuclear deal by offering to broker a Saudi-Israeli normalization deal in exchange. Noting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s well-known past opposition to nuclear deals with Iran, Israel Hayom suggests he may be open to this one given his comment prior to the last election that “the big prize is peace with Saudi Arabia, which I intend to achieve if I go back into office.” They also cite several political officials who claim that, depending on the new deal’s content, he would lean towards going along with it if it was concurrent with a deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

From what is publicly known, it appears that this nuclear deal will be an informal, unwritten agreement without clear technical restrictions or spell out any means of verification of compliance with commitment on limiting enrichment of uranium; nor would it require the end of Iranian funding for terrorist groups. What it most certainly would do, however, is give Iran tremendous relief from the sanction regime imposed on its economy and provide access to billions of dollars.

The bottom line is that there will be no dearth of opposition once the provisions of the deal become known. Its apparent lack of formality was doubtless designed to shield it from Congressional oversight laws enacted after the first Iran deal fiasco, but this will make its overall legitimacy an issue. But President Joe Biden wants a deal – any deal – so he can claim in his inimitable fashion that he has delivered what he promised.


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