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US says ‘basic framework’ ready for Israel-Saudi normalization deal after reportedly significant progress

Saudi Arabia has reportedly moved closer to an agreement on several issues

Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud and U.S. President Joe Biden shake hands next to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the day of the G20 summit in New Delhi, India, Sept. 9, 2023. (Photo: REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/Pool)

Following a report that Saudi Arabia would not uphold a normalization deal with Israel due to concessions to the Palestinian Authority, U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby announced on Saturday evening that a ‘basic framework’ has been worked out. 

“All sides have hammered out, I think, a basic framework for what, you know, what we might be able to drive at,” Kirby told reporters at the White House. 

He also said that both sides would still have to make compromises. 

“But, as in any complex arrangement, as this will inevitably be, everybody is going to have to do something. And everybody is going to have to compromise on some things,” Kirby added. 

The Wall Street Journal reported in August that the basic framework had been achieved in for normalization deal. 

At that time, U.S. officials attempted to downplay the progress. 

Reportedly, Saudi Arabia requested a military agreement in which the United States would defend the Kingdom in the event of an attack as part of the normalization with Israel. 

An anonymous U.S. source told Reuters that the U.S. may offer a similar agreement to Bahrain or several Asian countries, which would not require congressional approval. 

Biden is reportedly concerned that he could not garner Democrat support for a deal with major concessions for Saudi Arabia. 

The American source also told Reuters the U.S. could offer Saudi Arabia a deal designating the country as a major non-NATO ally, as is the case with Israel and Egypt, and that a defense agreement between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia “would not be a treaty alliance or anything like that.” 

Instead, the source told Reuters the agreement “would be a mutual defense understanding, less than a full treaty, and that the kingdom has agreed to sign Section 123 of the U.S. Atomic Energy Act, establishing a framework for U.S. peaceful nuclear cooperation. Riyadh had previously refused to this condition. 

Achieving a normalization deal with Saudi Arabia has continued to be a major focus for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

During his speech to the United Nations General Assembly in September, Netanyahu said a deal could be achieved soon. 

“Peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia will truly create a new Middle East,” Netanyahu said. 

Netanyahu also said that the PA should not be given a veto of the normalization deal, a reference to conceding to Palestinian demands as part of the normalization talks.

One regional source told Reuters that while the Palestinian issue is important for Saudi Arabia, their support is not as important to the Kingdom for this deal. 

“Saudi Arabia supports a peace plan for the Palestinians, but this time it wanted something for Saudi Arabia, not just for the Palestinians,” according to the source.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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