Israeli officials may visit Saudi Arabia during Joe Biden’s upcoming visit
Tel Aviv believes the Arab Summit will serve as an opportunity to secure 'small to medium normalization measures' with the Gulf kingdom
By News Desk - July 07 2022

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A senior Saudi official announced on 7 July that the kingdom is considering inviting Israeli officials during or after US President Joe Biden’s upcoming visit to Riyadh on 13 July.

This move is dependent on the success of the upcoming meeting, although the option of inviting an Israeli official was reportedly discussed between Washington and Riyadh in previous talks.

The potential meeting would present an opportunity for Israeli representatives to meet with other Arab states before the upcoming Arab summit in the last quarter of 2022.

Saudi officials have recently expressed openness towards Israel, making it possible for Riyadh and Tel Aviv to normalize ties.

The upcoming tour of West Asia by US President Joe Biden will likely facilitate several deals between Israel and Saudi Arabia, according to reports.

One report by Israel Hayom suggests that Israel will agree to the transfer of two Red Sea islands from Egypt to Saudi Arabia.

This transfer deal was first reported by Israel’s Walla News on 23 May. The islands, which once belonged to Saudi Arabia, were handed over to Egyptian control in 1950 by Riyadh.

Egypt and Saudi Arabia have been negotiating over the islands of Tiran and Sanafir since 2018, when the Egyptian Supreme Court approved a bilateral deal to transfer the islands to Saudi Arabia.

Joe Biden is set to visit Israel on 19 July, after visiting Saudi Arabia.

Currently, Saudi Arabia restricts Israeli flight activity over its airspace, with the exception of flights to Bahrain and the UAE, as the two nations have normalized diplomatic ties with Tel Aviv through the 2020 Abraham Accords.

Israeli media has referred to this exception as an indirect recognition of the controversial accords.

In a press conference on 24 May at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan stated that normalization with Israel “will not happen” until the Palestinian issue is fully solved.

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