By Susan Tawil(United With Israel)
Saudi Arabia’s Defense Minister, Prince Khalid bin Salman Al Saud, met with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan at the White House on Monday. They spoke of strengthening the U.S.-Saudi defense partnership and maintaining “regional stability” in the Middle East.
Uppermost in the talks was the ongoing Hamas-Israel war.
Bin Salman called for more humanitarian aid to the Gazans, and the need for an immediate Israeli ceasefire.
The two also discussed the importance of deterring the expansion of the conflict by any “state or non-state actors,” implying the involvement of Iran or the Iranian-backed Houthis terrorists from Yemen.
On Tuesday, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby reported that Saudi Arabia is still interested in normalization of ties with Israel, although he admitted that the war makes “practical progress” difficult right now. Before the conflict began, initiated by the murderous surprise attack by Hamas on Israeli civilians October 7, the White House was reportedly “working on a deal” with Saudi Arabia.
The pact between the US and Riyad would have included Saudi normalization with Israel and a possible agreement with the “Palestinians.”
In exchange, the US would agree to provide military protection to Saudi Arabia in case of an attack by Iran.
These talks built on matters discussed in last week’s phone call between US President Joe Biden and Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman.
Biden reaffirmed his country’s support of its allies (a tacit support of Israel), and spoke about America’s current diplomatic and military efforts to prevent expansion of the Hamas/Israel conflict.
Discussing humanitarian aid for the Gazan civilians, bin Salman said that his country sent $100 million, and Biden agreed to match that amount. Both heads of state called for the immediate release of the over 200 Israeli hostages. Biden stressed the importance of working toward a “sustainable peace between Israelis and Palestinians” when the war ends.
Regarding Saudi Arabia’s normalization with Israel, Sullivan said: “We are still committed to it, and it is clear to us that the Saudis are still committed to it.”
Yet, to date Saudi Arabia does not recognize Israel as a sovereign nation. It has not condemned the unspeakable murder, rape, and torture perpetrated by Hamas against innocent Israeli civilians, and has instead condemned Israel for its defense against Hamas terrorists in Gaza.
Just yesterday (Wednesday), Saudi Arabia condemned Israel’s “inhumane targeting” of the Jabalya refugee camp in north Gaza, in which a leading Hamas commander was killed.
The Israeli attack eliminating the terrorist head targeted him in his command center, located in a tunnel under the densely populated camp. Unfortunately for the Gazans used as human shields by the terrorists, the tunnel was also filled with a large stock of weapons and rockets which exploded on impact. Israel regrets the unintended civilian deaths.