Senior Israeli official says although recent Netanyahu visit to Saudi Arabia was good, major changes will come only after King Salman dies.
By World Israel News Staff
A peace deal with Saudi Arabia is not currently expected due to the objections of its aging monarch, King Salman, Channel 12 News reported Thursday.
A senior Israeli official involved in talks with the Gulf nation said that despite the “very warm” meeting last weekend between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, Israel understands that there will not be any breakthrough in relations in the near future, Arab Affairs correspondent Nir Dvori reported.
Although the Crown Prince, commonly referred to by his initials MBS, is in favor of moving forward in relations with Israel, his father, 84-year-old King Salman, is firm on his position that normalization with Israel must come after a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Only after he [Salman] goes will it be possible to move forward,” the source told Channel 12.
In a conversation in early September with U.S. President Donald Trump, King Salman told the American leader that he would not join the Abraham Accords, the U.S.-brokered peace deal signed a month earlier at the White House in which Saudi Arabia’s Gulf neighbors, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, established normalization with Israel. Trump hinted that Saudi Arabia was interested, but indicated that the time was not yet right for them.
Despite previous reports that Saudi Arabia would allow passenger flights to and from Israel to use its airspace, that is being pared back so that Israel’s national airline, El Al, will not yet be allowed to overfly Saudi Arabia, the report said.
It is not clear if that new restriction will also include El Al flights to and from the UAE and Bahrain.
There will, however, be Saudi-Israeli cooperation when it comes to their common enemy, Iran, as well as the growing economic trade between Israel and the Kingdom.