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Saudi-Israeli normalization drifts further away as Riyadh courts Iran

The planned visit by a Hamas delegation to Riyadh reflects Saudi Arabia's new diplomatic priorities, which do not include normalization with Israel.
Iranian and Saudi foreign ministers in China

TEL AVIV — Meeting in Jerusalem with US Sen. Lindsey Graham on Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel wants normalization and peace with Saudi Arabia. "We view [normalization] as perhaps a giant leap toward ending the Arab-Israeli conflict. This agreement could have monumental consequences, historic consequences both for Israel, for Saudi Arabia, for the region and for the world," said Netanyahu, reiterating his election campaign mantra that he was working to expand the circle of peace and add more countries to the 2020 Abraham Accords.

Netanyahu’s optimism on Saudi Arabia was met with skepticism by Israeli security officials. "The strangest thing," a former senior Israeli security source told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, "is that despite all the writing on the wall and flashing red warning lights, Netanyahu continues to talk about ‘expanding the circle of peace’ and the option that Israel will soon add Saudi Arabia to the Abraham Accords, partially or completely."

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