Report: Biden victory delayed Saudi recognition of Israel

Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman backed off from recognizing Israel now in order to use the move as confidence building measure with the new Biden administration.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Saudi Arabia’s crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Salman is delaying the normalization of relations with Israel in order to use the move as a key confidence building measure with the incoming administration of president-elect Joe Biden, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Last weekend, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Saudi Arabia for a covert meeting with the Crown Prince while U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in the country also to meet with Bin Salman.

“In a secret meeting last weekend, Israeli and Saudi leaders failed to agree on normalizing ties after the crown prince backed away largely due to Biden’s win,” the Journal wrote.

The report said the Crown Prince, often referred to by his initials MBS, stopped short of recognizing Israel at this time in order to use such a major step in to build ties with the new American administration after Biden is sworn into office on January 20.

The president-elect has said he is in favor of Arab states establishing diplomatic relations with Israel not tied to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, but Biden is expected to take a much tougher stance than President Donald Trump on Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.

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Democrats in Congress seek accountability from the Saudis over the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi government agents.

“A deal struck under the aegis of the new president could put relations between the Biden administration and Riyadh on a surer footing,” Saudi officials told the Journal.

MBS’s aging father, King Salman, 84 has stated that he is not interested in establishing relations with Israel until the Israeli-Palestinian issue is resolved.

A senior Israeli official involved in talks with the Gulf nation said last week that despite the “very warm” meeting between Netanyahu and MBS, Israel understands that there will no breakthrough in relations until the Crown Prince ascends to the throne after his father passes, Channel 12 reported.