It could be the first visit by an Israeli prime minister to Saudi Arabia. According to information from the Israeli media, confirmed by Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Monday, November 23, the head of the government of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, traveled to the country, where he met in secret this weekend. end the Crown Prince, Mohammed Ben Salman (MBS).
Mr. Netanyahu flew on the evening of Sunday, November 22 in a private jet with Yossi Cohen, the head of Mossad, the Israeli external intelligence services, to go to Neom, a futuristic city located in the north-west of the ‘Saudi Arabia, on the border of Jordan and Egypt, therefore close to Israel, the Israeli press has revealed; information confirmed to AFP by a government source.
But the Saudi Foreign Minister denied, Monday, November 23, information according to which Crown Prince Mohamed Ben Salman met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday in Saudi Arabia.
“I saw press reports regarding an alleged meeting between the Crown Prince and Israeli officials during the recent visit [du secrétaire d’Etat américain, Mike Pompeo]. No such meeting has taken place ”, Saudi Foreign Minister said on Twitter, Prince Fayçal Ben Farhane. “The only officials present were Americans and Saudis”.
An interview with the American Secretary of State
There, Benyamin Netanyahu spoke with the head of the American diplomacy, Mike Pompeo, who was well in Saudi Arabia and wrote on his Twitter account having had interviews “Constructive” in Neom with Mohammed Ben Salman.
“Our security and economic partnership is strong and we will continue to develop it in order to counter the harmful influence of Iran in the region”added Mr. Pompeo, who has been touring the Middle East in recent days, during which he has visited Israel.
Israel has announced in recent months agreements to normalize its relations with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, but also Sudan, under the sponsorship of the United States of President Donald Trump, a key ally of Mr. Netanyahu, who must to leave office, as MM. Trump and Pompeo, in January 2021.
US and Israeli officials spoke of other upcoming deals with Arab countries. Saudi Arabia is also often cited by analysts as a country that could normalize its relations with Israel, just like Oman, the Gulf monarchy to which Mr. Netanyahu has already visited.
Towards a normalization of Israeli-Saudi relations?
With the arrival in January 2021 of Mr. Trump’s successor, Joe Biden, at the White House, several analysts question the future of the ongoing normalization of relations between Israel and Arab countries, supported and defended by the United States. Trump administration on the basis of a union against the “Threat” Iranian.
If Joe Biden initiates – unlike Donald Trump – discussions with Iran, what will happen to these normalization agreements ?, ask analysts and commentators questioned in recent weeks by AFP. Many expect the American Democrats to be tougher on Saudi Arabia than Mr. Trump because of his record on fundamental rights, and are also trying to re-engage with the Palestinians.
The Palestinian Authority has called “Betrayal” recent agreements normalizing relations between Arab countries and Israel. And the Saudi kingdom had made it clear that it would not follow the example of the Emirates and Bahrain, who broke a “Arab consensus” conditioning any normalization with Israel to a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.