Monday May 30, 2022
Israel and Saudi Arabia are getting closer to their first public agreement as Israel considers Saudi appeal to change the international status of the two Islands in the Red Sea, Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
The development comes amid growing speculation that Jerusalem and Riyadh are readying small steps toward normalising relations.
The White House is putting the deal together and it focuses on transferring the Tiran and Sanafir islands in the Red Sea from Egyptian to Saudi sovereignty.
While the Egyptian Parliament and the Supreme Court approved moving the Islands to Riyadh, due to the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, Israeli approval is also required.
Biden is considering visiting Saudi Arabia next month during his Middle East trip and stopping at Israel, per reports. Meanwhile, Israel feels that this visit will advance more public gestures between the two nations.
According to sources, the efforts to normalise relations between the countries formally have not been successful due to Saudi Arabia's standing in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
There have been several diplomatic talks on security and business affairs secretly.
Israel thinks that following the global energy crisis after the war in Ukraine, US President Biden is ready to "forgive" bin Salman to warm their relationships with the Saudis and expand its oil exports.
In April 2016, Egypt announced the transfer of Tiran and Safir to Saudi Arabia. According to Israel’s peace treaty with Egypt, no movement and advancements on the islands can be done without Israel's consent.
Riyadh transferred the islands to Egypt in 1950, afraid that Israel would occupy them. Later in 1956, Israel occupied the islands for a few months.
In 1967, when Egypt blocked the routes for Israeli traffic, after the Six-Day War, Israel captured the islands again. After a few years, in 1982, a peace treaty was signed and the islands, along with half of the Sinai Peninsula, were returned.