According to reports, it’s possible that Saudi Arabia, the home of the Islamic faith, may normalize relations with its mortal and decades-long enemy, Israel. If this happens, it will be one of the most historically important diplomatic agreements in American and world history.
After President Donald Trump assisted with the normalization of relationships between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), with Bahrain following shortly afterward, most considered that this would be the extent of it for the time being.
However, there are reports that Saudi Arabia, one of the most influential countries in the region along with Iran and Israel, may join in on this historic and groundbreaking peace deal.
Per the Agence France-Presse, also known as AFP, “Trump expects Saudi Arabia will join move to recognize Israel…Israel normalized relations with longtime foes Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates at a White House ceremony, as President Trump said similar US-brokered deals were close between the Jewish state and several other nations, including Saudi Arabia.”
Though the agreements between the U.A.E., Bahrain and Israel are indeed historic, nothing could surpass a deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia in terms of significance.
As the home to Islamic holy sites Mecca and Medina, Saudi Arabia is considered the bastion of the faith started by the Muslim prophet Mohammad and for much of its history considered Israel a hostile state.
But due to the influence of the young and controversial Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the country’s stance on Israel started changing a couple of years ago.
In an interview with The Atlantic in 2018, the Crown Prince said, “I believe that each people, anywhere, has a right to live in their peaceful nation. I believe the Palestinians and the Israelis have the right to have their own land.”
He went on to say that this could only be possible through “a peace agreement to assure the stability for everyone and to have normal relations.”
Only five years before, a statement like that would have been unthinkable.
According to reports, even the clerics are changing their tune, with one of Saudi Arabia’s leading clerics indicating earlier this month that Muslims should avoid “passionate emotions and fiery enthusiasm” towards the Jews. He also stated that the prophet Mohammed was “good to his Jewish neighbor and argued the best way to persuade Jews to convert to Islam was to ‘treat them well.’”
The treatment of the Palestinians is one of the main points of contention between Israel and most of the Muslim countries surrounding it, but recent reports indicate that this passion for the Palestinian cause is beginning to dwindle. In fact, the Palestinians were so frustrated with the U.A.E. and Israel agreement that they recalled their ambassador from Abu Dhabi. There were promises within the deal to protect the West Bank from annexation, but it appears like the Palestinian plight is no longer a hindrance to peace.
In a recent statement, Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet stated, “The cabinet notes that the kingdom stands by the Palestinian people and supports all efforts aimed at reaching a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian issue that enables the Palestinian people to establish their independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with international legitimacy decisions and the Arab Peace Initiative.”
Time will tell if a diplomatic agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia can be reached but it appears like a tentative peace in the Middle East is within reach.
Photo from JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS
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