Report: Saudi Arabia to Normalize with Israel by End of 2021

YERUSHALAYIM -
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (Saudi Press Agency/Handout via REUTERS)

Saudi Arabia has thus far rebuffed attempts by Israel and the U.S. to persuade the kingdom to normalize relations with Israel, but senior officials are saying that Riyadh will probably come on board by the end of 2021, The Jerusalem Post reported on Monday evening.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the matter.

Last week, Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen said that a deal could come in the next few years, but not before January 20, the date for the inauguration of president-elect Joe Biden. He made no mention of the end of 2021. Cohen had previously said that an agreement with the Saudis could happen in the near future.

On November 23, it was reported that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) in a bid to jump-start normalization, but the attempt failed. Neither Netanyahu’s office nor Saudi Arabia confirmed the story.

“Israel and Saudi Arabia coming together and having full normalization at this point is an inevitability, but the timeframe… is something that has to be worked out,” White House senior adviser Jared Kushner told reporters on December 10.