By World Israel News Staff
In an interview Wednesday with Fox News, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) said that peace with the Jewish state was “getting closer every day.”
Normalization would happen “with the support from President Biden’s administration,” he said.
In the same interview, he stressed that if the Iranians can acquire a nuclear weapon, then the Saudis, too, should be given the same opportunity.
Indeed, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed Israel’s nuclear and security specialists to work with U.S. negotiators to find a compromise that allows the Saudis to enrich uranium, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
Israeli officials are “quietly working” with the White House to develop a “U.S.-run, uranium-enrichment operation” in Saudi Arabia for a civilian nuclear program, officials from both countries told the Journal.
In response, lawmakers from the Israeli Opposition sent a strong letter to Yuli Edelstein, chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Security Committee, voicing their concern about the prime minister’s support for a Saudi nuclear program, Hebrew daily Ma’ariv reported.
“In recent months, we have been exposed in the media to the fact that the prime minister is inclined to accept a Saudi nuclear program presented as a nuclear program for peaceful purposes,” the letter states.
“We appeal to you to hold a professional and in-depth discussion in the Foreign Affairs and Security Committee about the security implications arising from this, with the participation of all security factors relevant to the issue in order to examine the effects of this move on the entire region and the security of the country.
“We would like to emphasize that there is a real concern that such a decision may be dangerous to Israel’s security, therefore a comprehensive discussion is required regarding all aspects of such an agreement.”
The letter adds a requests to meet as soon as possible to discuss the following issues:
– Was a comprehensive discussion held with all the security bodies relevant to the issue?
– Have the possible consequences of such a plan on the security of the State of Israel and the region been examined?
– Was there serious headquarters work with expert bodies on the subject?
– Is there an obligation to discuss this topic in the cabinet according to the law, and if so, will it take place and when?”
“We, the undersigned, request to convene the committee immediately for an emergency discussion on the subject out of commitment to the security of the state and the need to hold a substantive, in-depth and comprehensive discussion one hour earlier,” the letter concludes.
‘Bursting into an open door’
A spokesperson for Edelstein responded that the lawmakers were “bursting into an open door,” according to Ma’ariv, adding that the issue of normalization with Saudi Arabia in general and the security implications in particular were raised already a few months ago.
In addition, he said, “even before your application, the chairman of the Committee instructed me to schedule a meeting on the matter in the near future. Naturally, and due to the sensitivity of the matter, the discussion will not take place within the plenary of the committee as you requested in your application, but rather in the subcommittee for intelligence and secret services.”
Opposition Leader Yair Lapid has reportedly working to undermine efforts by Netanyahu to normalize ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia and has been lobbying congressional Democrats to intervene against a possible peace deal.
Herzog supports ‘historic agreement’
Meanwhile, in a speech Thursday evening at the annual memorial ceremony at Yad LaShiryon, Latrun, for the fallen servicemen and women of the IDF Armored Corps, President Isaac Herzog expressed enthuiasm regarding the possibility of normalization with Saudi Arabia.
“I wholeheartedly welcome the important developments regarding the possibility of a historic agreement with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is a very important country, and I believe that a relationship based on partnership and friendship between us can be the foundation for a historic change in the history of the State of Israel and the entire Middle East.
“This opportunity of course depends on many factors, but I hope and wholeheartedly believe that it will be realized,” he said.