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Pompeo Pushes Saudi Arabia Towards Normalization with Israel


JERUSALEM, Israel – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with his Saudi Arabian counterpart on Wednesday and urged the kingdom to normalize ties with Israel.

Pompeo said the diplomatic agreements signed by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain – also known as the “Abraham Accords” – serve the security interests of both Riyadh and Washington.

“They reflect a changing dynamic in the region. One in which countries rightly recognize the need for regional cooperation to counter Iranian influence and generate prosperity,” Pompeo said during a statement delivered with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.

“We hope Saudi Arabia will consider normalizing its relationships as well and we want to thank them for the assistance they’ve had in the success of the Abraham Accords so far,” he continued.

Saudi Arabia has not commented directly on the details of the agreements, but opened up its skies to Israeli airliners traveling to and from the Gulf region.

Pompeo also said he hopes the Kingdom will urge the Palestinians to “return to dialogue and negotiation with Israel.”

The recent comments by a Saudi official condemning Palestinians for repeatedly missing opportunities to make peace with Israel and end the decades-old conflict has raised speculations that Saudi Arabia could one day normalize ties with Israel.

Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Arabia’s former intel chief and longtime ambassador to the US, said in a bombshell interview with Al-Arabiya TV that Palestinian foreign policy had failed, and the Palestinian leaders’ decision to lambast the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain for signing historic diplomatic deals with Israel is “unacceptable.”

The interview revealed the kingdom’s frustrations with Palestinian leaders, but stopped short of giving any definitive signs that Saudi Arabia is ready to establish ties with the Jewish State.

As the birthplace of Islam and the home to Islam’s holiest sites, Saudi Arabia has special influence in the region and is cautious concerning how a decision to normalize ties with Israel could upset the Muslim world and threaten its own security.

“The Saudi Arabian decision is different than any other country. It’s not only a matter of a country and its people like the UAE and Bahrain. It’s more than that because of its weight in the region,” Author and researcher Dr. Najat Al Saeed told reporters on Monday.

Middle East expert Joel Rosenberg has led several delegations of evangelical leaders to the Gulf States and has met with Saudi leaders. He believes changes are coming.

“I think that we are actually trending towards dramatic developments towards normalization, full peace treaty between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the State of Israel. I know that for many that seems premature and it seems even farfetched. I think that it’s absolutely going to happen. I think it’s a matter of time,” Rosenberg told CBN News.

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