Senior US sources have confirmed that there are advanced talks between Israel and Saudi Arabia on establishing diplomatic relations. The sources said that it was not clear if Saudi Arabia would join the Abraham Accords and establish full normalization, or make do with lower level economic trade ties.
This would probably involve representative offices to deal with economic and trade matters and other topics, like handling the Covid pandemic. Israel’s Consul in Dubai Ilan Shtulman told “Globes” yesterday that diplomatic talks have intensified recently between Israel and some Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, as part of the Abraham Accords.
Israel and UAE nearing free trade agreement
Sources in Israel have also confirmed this but have stressed that there are no final agreements yet. One option is a concession by Israel to the Palestinians, so that the Saudis can establish ties, as for example in July 2020, when Israel relinquished the option to annex territory in the West Bank, in exchange for the Abraham Accords and normalizing ties with the UAE and Bahrain, and then Sudan and Morocco. One possible concession mentioned would be a nod to the US to open a consulate in East Jerusalem but another source said that that is not likely to happen soon.
Saudi Arabia has already agreed to allow Israeli aircraft to fly over its airspace, shortening routes to the Gulf, India and elsewhere in Asia. It remains unclear when the Kingdom and other Arab countries will agree to relations but according to the senior US sources, the Biden administration is pressing the Arab countries, in order to help the Bennett-Lapid government.
An Israeli business source involved in trade ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia said that the Abraham Accords have resulted in recent months in some modest deals between Israel and Saudi Arabia, through the UAE and especially Bahrain.
Opening up the Saudi market, with its population of 33 million and high purchasing power, would have enormous significance for Israeli companies and exporters.
Published by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – on October 20, 2021.
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2021.