Relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia on the menu of the Biden-Netanyahu meeting

Relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia on the menu of

The American president and the Israeli Prime Minister are expected to meet this Wednesday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Several sensitive issues should be on the agenda of this meeting, including the normalization of relations with Saudi Arabia.

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This is the first time that the two leaders have seen each other since Benjamin Netanyahu’s return to power at the end of last year. Washington prefers to display a certain distance with him. Two issues are of particular concern to the White House: Israeli colonization in the Palestinian Territories, and the controversial judicial reform in Israel, desired by Benyamin Netanyahu and his government.

Israel downgraded, relegated to second place », Writes an Israeli newspaper. Because of one man: Benyamin Netanyahu. Usually, as soon as an Israeli Prime Minister comes to power, he is immediately received at the White House. Objective: to reaffirm the historical links between the two allies. Mr. Netanyahu took over as head of the country last December. Months of waiting, questions and controversies, until finally this summer, American President Joe Biden deigned to invite him to the United States. Not for a state visit, but for a simple meeting.

THE Yedioth Ahronoth curry Benyamin Netanyahu. “ Like a third world leader, [il] take advantage of the UN General Assembly to visit America », mocks the Israeli daily. Because Washington is more than upset by the policies of Benyamin Netanyahu, recalls our correspondent in Jerusalem, Sami Boukhelifa.

Despite this, the historic ally of the Jewish state is working to further facilitate its integration into the Middle East, in particular through the normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia. This will be discussed during the meeting. But the Saudis warned: “ No normalization without the settlement of the Palestinian question “. And it happens, explains Riyad, “ by the creation of a Palestinian state “.

Auctions and compromises

If for Benyamin Netanyahu, a normalization agreement with Saudi Arabia would be a diplomatic success, on the side of Riyadh, there are still many reluctances. Difficult, in particular, to forge links with an Israeli government dominated by the far right and the settlers, while the Palestinian question remains central for the Saudis.

The Saudis still defend the two-state solution today, underlines Fathia Dazi Heni, specialist in the Arabian Peninsula at Irsem. It is clear that as long as Israel does not make concessions to the Palestinians, there is no question of Saudi Arabia normalizing its relations with Israel. »

If the Saudis have nevertheless moved forward in the discussions, it is because they are expecting pledges, in exchange, from the United States, mediator in this matter. “ The Saudis are also raising the stakes, they want to obtain cooperation on civil nuclear power, and they want almost a written defense agreement, which would force the United States to defend Saudi Arabia at all costs. »

Complex questions that require compromises from each party before considering a standardization agreement.