Skip to main content

Israel, Saudi Arabia see progress on ties as Iran sounds warning

Biden met Netanyahu on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York
— New York (AFP)

Saudi Arabia and Israel voiced optimism Wednesday that they were moving closer to a historic normalization of ties as Iran -- their common foe -- accused the kingdom of betraying the Palestinians through the US-led effort.

US President Joe Biden is hoping to transform the Middle East -- and score an election-year diplomatic victory -- by securing recognition of the Jewish state by Saudi Arabia, the guardian of Islam's two holiest sites.

Meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Biden quipped that he had "Irish optimism" on securing a deal with Saudi Arabia.

"If you and I, 10 years ago, were talking about normalization with Saudi Arabia, I think we'd look at each other like, 'Who's been drinking what?'" Biden -- himself a teetotaler -- said of Israel and the strictly dry kingdom.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 for annual access.