A report from Israeli media said a normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia is unlikely to happen while King Salman remains in power in Riyadh.
While Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia and is more open to warmer ties with Israel, his 84-year-old father, King Salman, is still technically in charge.
The report from Israel’s Channel 12 cited an unnamed senior Israeli official who said MBS and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a “very warm meeting” in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.
Netanyahu and MBS discussed Iran and a possible normalization agreement. But the Israeli official told Channel 12 that “Israel understands that there will not be a breakthrough with the Saudis in the near future” because King Salman “takes a diametrically opposite stance” than his son does concerning normalization.
Despite no normalization agreement expected in the near future, the official said, “cooperation against the joint enemy Iran” between the two countries will continue. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made it clear in recent comments that one of the primary purposes of normalization agreements between Israel and Arab staes is to isolate Iran.
The meeting between Netanyahu and MBS was leaked almost immediately after it happened. According to sources speaking to Reuters, King Salman was kept in the dark about Netanyahu’s visit.