- Saudi Arabia ‘Next in Line’ to Normalise with Israel, Says Mossad Chief
The head of Israel’s intelligence agency alleged a normalisation deal between Tel Aviv and Riyadh will soon come, according to Jerusalem Post. Yossi Cohen, chief of the Israeli Mossad agency, said the Saudis will wait until after the US elections on November 3 before announcing the deal “as a gift” for the winning candidate.
Cohen went on to suggest the Saudis will wait to get acquainted with Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden before presenting him with the gift, if he wins the election. The comments were made during a closed discussion but were reported by the Jerusalem Post.
It is likely that the Saudi’s hesitance towards Biden is linked to his stance towards Riyadh, and the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in particular, given his previous hard-line position against MbS shortly after the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Saudi Arabia still has no formal ties with the Jewish state, but now allows flights in its air space. The comments came as informed sourced told Israel’s Channel 12 that Oman is likely to be the fourth Arab country to recently normalise relations with Tel Aviv, following in the foot steps of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan.
Israel struck landmark agreements last month with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, and on Friday, agreed with Sudan to normalise relations in a US-brokered deal. A day later, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the deals were “changing the map of the Middle East” and confirmed “there will be more countries”. Normalisation with Israel is a highly controversial topic across the Arab world and reports of deals have sparked protests across the region.
The Palestinians have been vocal in their opposition to the agreements, arguing that such decisions remove any incentive for Israel to end its occupation of the Palestinian territories.