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3 Oct 05:30

About our Israel/Saudi Arabia news

Latest news on Israeli and Saudi Arabia international relations, including updates on military cooperations, state visits and normalisation deals.

Following the establishment of Israel in 1948, Saudi Arabia, like many Arab states, did not recognise Israel and opposed its existence. During this period, the Arab-Israeli conflicts, including the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and the Suez Crisis of 1956, further strained relations.

The Cold War dynamics led to some covert cooperation between Israel and Saudi Arabia, both of which were wary of Soviet influence in the Middle East. Shared concerns about the rise of Arab nationalism and pan-Arabism also contributed to discreet diplomatic contacts. Tensions, however, persisted as illustrated by the 1973 Yom Kippur War as Saudi Arabia and other Arab states launched an oil embargo against countries which had supported Israel.

The Madrid Conference in 1991 and subsequent peace efforts marked a period of shifting dynamics. Both Israel and Saudi Arabia participated indirectly in these diplomatic initiatives, with the Saudis contributing to the Arab Peace Initiative. However, normalisation remained elusive. Further co-operation between the two states emerged over concerns about Iran's regional influence and nuclear ambitions which created a shared strategic interest between Israel and Saudi Arabia. Both nations expressed opposition to Iran's actions and sought to counter its influence.

Normalisation of relations were brought to the fore by the Abraham Accords, a series of normalisation agreements between Israel and Arab countries. While Saudi Arabia did not immediately join the accords, some reports suggested that backchannel communication between the two countries continued. On the 9th August 2023, it was reported that Saudi Arabia and Israel had agreed on the broad contours of a deal to officially normalise relations. The Biden administration, however, said that the two countries did not agree on a shared framework for negotiations, playing down speculation.

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