Biden thinks Hamas attack linked to efforts on Israel-Saudi relations

AP , AFP , Saturday 21 Oct 2023

President Joe Biden said he thinks Hamas’ initial attack on Israel was tied in part to efforts to normalize relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, an initiative that Biden was trying to bring to fruition.

President Joe Biden meets with European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Friday, Oct. 20, 2023, in Washington. AP


"One of the reasons why they acted like they did... why Hamas moved on Israel... (was) because they knew I was about to sit down with the Saudis," Biden told guests at a campaign fundraiser.

"The Saudis wanted to recognize Israel... unite the Middle East," he claimed.

Saudi officials announced on 14 October during a visit to Riyadh by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that the country had suspended talks with Israel on normalization of relations.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had spoken of progress with Israel but also insisted on movement on the Palestinian cause.

The Gulf kingdom has never recognized Israel and has not joined the 2020 Abraham Accords, brokered by the United States, which led neighbouring Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, as well as Morocco, to establish diplomatic ties with Israel.

The Biden administration had pressed Saudi Arabia to follow suit, with Riyadh demanding in exchange security guarantees from Washington and assistance in developing a civil nuclear program.

In an interview with Fox News last month, Saudi's crown prince said he was "getting closer every day" to a normalization agreement with Israel while emphasizing the importance of the Palestinian question for his country.


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