February 6, 2024 | Flash Brief

Blinken Visits Saudi Arabia to Broker Gaza Deal

February 6, 2024 | Flash Brief

Blinken Visits Saudi Arabia to Broker Gaza Deal

Latest Developments

Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on February 5 to discuss a deal that would pause the Gaza war and free the remaining hostages. The State Department said that Secretary Blinken also focused on “addressing humanitarian needs in Gaza,” “preventing further spread of the conflict,” and “regional coordination to achieve an enduring end to the crisis in Gaza.” The secretary’s ongoing travels mark his fifth trip to the Middle East since October 7. Throughout this week, he will travel to Egypt, Qatar, and Israel to advance diplomatic efforts to stabilize the region.

Expert Analysis                                         

“On October 7, Hamas terrorists threw the Middle East into chaos in a deliberate attempt to scuttle Saudi-Israel normalization. Iran-backed terror organizations continue to destabilize the region. A potent antidote to the death, destruction, and instability unleashed by the regime in Tehran would be a new regional peace initiative spearheaded by the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” — Enia Krivine, Senior Director of FDD’s Israel Program and National Security Network

“The shortest route to Mideast peace is through Saudi Arabia. Washington should directly involve Riyadh in any talks regarding the future of Gaza. The kingdom has the regional clout and financial power to make things possible. Riyadh is heavily invested in countering extremism spread by the Iranian axis, which it sees as having hijacked the Palestinian question.” — Haisam Hassanein, FDD Adjunct Fellow

Ongoing Push for Israel-Saudi Arabia Normalization

The Biden administration continues to encourage Saudi Arabia to establish diplomatic relations with Israel. Prior to Hamas’s massacre on October 7, Saudi Arabia appeared to be nearing normalization with Israel, but since then, Riyadh has maintained a more cautious approach. On January 8, Secretary Blinken said Saudi-Israel normalization hinges on the creation of a Palestinian state. In January, Blinken described a “new equation” in the Middle East, where Israel’s Arab neighbors may pursue normalization if a Palestinian state is created. The Biden administration’s approach deviates from the framework of the Abraham Accords, signed by the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco in 2020, which do not condition regional progress on Palestinian statehood.

Can Saudi Arabia Forge an Israel-Palestine Peace?” by Haisam Hassanein

Blinken Ties Saudi-Israel Normalization to Palestinian Statehood,” FDD Flash Brief

Jordan, Saudi Arabia and UAE help Gazan civilians,” by Seth J. Frantzman


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