Analysts consider whether Saudi Arabia will follow UAE and Bahrain in normalizing ties with Israel

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by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – In light of Bahrain’s recent decision to join the United Arab Emirates in normalizing relations with Israel, analysts have been considering whether Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s largest economy, is likely to follow suit, Ynet News reports. Analysts say Bahrain was unlikely to normalize its Israel relations without the private endorsement of Saudi Arabia, because Riyadh sent troops to support Bahrain’s ruling family during the Arab Spring of 2011 and pledged to give the country $10 billion in financial aid in 2018.

Saudi officials have reportedly remained silent over Bahrain’s announcement. However, following the UAE’s recent announcement of normalizing ties with Israel, the Kingdom allowed a plane carrying US and Israeli delegations to fly from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi through its airspace. Moreover, it is widely reported that Saudi Arabia has been working with Israel on security issues behind the scenes for a while now, as both countries are threatened by Iran.

US President Donald Trump told reporters this week that he had talked to Saudi King Salman on the phone and has “started the dialogue” about normalizing Riyadh’s ties with Israel, Ynet News reports.

However, Saudi Arabia did not refer to the subject in its statement on the call with the president, expressing instead its hope for a “lasting and fair” solution for the Palestinians.

Analysts believe that, without a solution for the Palestinians, Saudi Arabia is unlikely to immediately follow UAE and Bahrain in normalizing ties with Israel immediately: to do so would be seen as a betrayal of the Palestinian cause and could harm Saudi’s image as the leader of the Muslim world. Nevertheless, the possibility of Saudi eventually following suit is not ruled out.

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