Report: Israeli and Saudi Officials Express Concerns Over U.S. Focus on Palestinian Issue in Normalization Talks

A general view of Riyadh city, Saudi Arabia. (REUTERS/Mohammed Benmansour/File Photo)

Israeli and Saudi officials are reportedly growing frustrated with what they perceive as Washington’s undue emphasis on requiring Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians as a condition for advancing the normalization process involving the three countries, according to sources cited by Yisrael Hayom.

Insiders familiar with the ongoing negotiations have conveyed that the Biden administration’s concentration on the Palestinian matter has hindered potential progress and disrupted potential breakthroughs.

One source pointed out that on significant issues such as a potential U.S.-Saudi defense alliance and a new civilian nuclear program in Saudi Arabia, there are no insurmountable differences because the disagreements are not substantial. However, the source noted that the American emphasis on the Palestinian aspect has been seen as excessive and could jeopardize the entire process.

Criticism of the White House by Israeli and Saudi officials has primarily been voiced in private discussions. These officials emphasize that Riyadh is not involved in pressuring Israel to make significant diplomatic concessions to the Palestinians. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in a recent Fox News interview, refrained from making demands on Israel regarding the Palestinian issue and instead expressed his expectation that Israel would “improve the lives of Palestinians.”

Nevertheless, Biden administration officials involved in mediating between Israel and Saudi Arabia have reportedly put forth a series of demands on Israel concerning the Palestinian issue. As previously reported by Yisrael Hayom, the U.S. has requested that Israel permit the reopening of a dedicated U.S. consulate general in Jerusalem, which would effectively serve as a diplomatic mission to the Palestinians. Additionally, Israel is facing pressure to increase its economic support for the Palestinian Authority.

It was disclosed on Sunday that Israel has augmented financial assistance to the Palestinians through various financial mechanisms, reducing the scope of tax collection, resulting in an additional NIS 350 million ($91 million) in funds transferred from Israel to Ramallah since the beginning of 2023. This appears to be a response to US efforts to bolster Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

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