Saudi Arabia’s ‘de facto ruler’ and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) told Fox News in the last week of September in his first English-language interview, ‘The world cannot afford to see another Hiroshima. If a million people die; That means you are at war with the rest of the world.’ Now the target of genocide is Gaza, the ‘other Hiroshima’.
Israel’s invasion of Gaza has been going on for months. As a result, over 40,000 people were killed in this densely populated valley. US-backed Israeli forces have dropped more than 25,000 tons of explosives, the equivalent of two nuclear bombs, on Gaza since October 7. The Geneva-based non-governmental organization Euro-Med said in a November 2 press release, “The explosives dropped in Gaza are more destructive than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima.” Of note, Mohammed bin Salman’s interview on Fox News aired just two weeks before the October 7 Palestinian resistance ‘al-Aqsa Flood’ operation. Interestingly, the Prince’s speech was not aimed at Israel; Iran. He said in response to a question about the dangers of Iran’s nuclear bomb program.
Now it is clear – not only Saudi Arabia, but also five other Arab countries, Egypt, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco, already have peace agreements with Israel. They are not even talking about renegotiating these agreements, despite public pressure against Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza. However, when Bahrain suspended economic ties with Israel and withdrew the Bahraini ambassador from Tel Aviv, some lawmakers called for the normalization deal to be scrapped as well, according to reports.
Countries in the Arab world that have signed ‘peace agreements’ with the occupying state of Israel have long touted the agreement as a means of security, prosperity and regional stability for their citizens. Mohammed bin Salman himself mentioned it. A potential Saudi-Israel deal brokered by the Biden administration would be a historic milestone, he told Fox News. This would be a major achievement since the end of the Cold War in 1991.
US President Joe Biden, a defender of Israel, believes that one of the goals of the Hamas attack was to disrupt Israel’s normalization talks with Saudi Arabia. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said directly in his assessment that one of the motives behind the Hamas attack was to disrupt efforts to bring Saudi Arabia and Israel closer together.
However, the official position of Saudi Arabia has not been announced by Mohammed bin Salman or his Ministry of Foreign Affairs. However, in light of information leaked by ‘reliable sources’ and ‘a source in the Saudi government’, reports published by Reuters on October 13 and AFP the following day said that Saudi Arabia has decided to suspend normalization talks and that US officials have been contacted for that purpose.
Apparently, Israel is somewhat worried about this unspoken threat. Saudi Arabia has strongly condemned the targeting of civilians after initially calling for an end to attacks and the protection of civilians. But Saudi Arabia is using cautious words to appease Washington even as Israel directs massacres in Gaza. Since Saudi Arabia has not yet signed an agreement to normalize relations with Israel, it has no diplomatic obligations with Tel Aviv. But surprisingly, Saudi Arabia’s reluctance to use its political power and oil influence to push for a ceasefire in Gaza is palpable. The proof of which is that Saudi Arabia has delayed until October 30 the announcement of the ‘urgent’ Arab summit scheduled for November 11 in Riyadh. This may indicate that Saudi Arabia is further along the road to normalization with Israel than we know.
It is also clear that the Arab countries do not want to withdraw from the normalization agreement with Israel. It is not a peace treaty to end war; They have agreements with Israel covering a range of issues including diplomacy, military cooperation, security, finance and trade.
The normalization of relations after the events of October 7 depends on the Israeli coalition. Arabs, like the US and Israelis, see the Gaza incident as a threat to Israel. Their goal is to destroy the resistance in Gaza in order to eliminate this threat. If their bet on Tel Aviv succeeds, they could set aside the complicated Palestinian issue and pave the way for a new regional order.
As Gaza burns, the US-Israeli alliance and Arab normalization countries contemplate territorial realignment. But the big question and obstacle in their way is whether Israel can win. Because defeating potential resistance forces in Gaza and West Asia will not be so easy for Israel.
Khalil Harb: Lebanese journalist; Abridged translation from The Cradle by Mahfuzur Rahman Manik