A senior Israeli official told reporters on Friday that the normalization agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran was the result of the “weakness” of the US and the previous Israeli government.
“There was a feeling of US and Israeli weakness and this is why the Saudis started looking for new avenues. It was clear that this was going to happen,” the unnamed official said while traveling with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Rome, according to Axios.
The official said the Saudi-Iran deal, which was brokered by China, should not impact Israel’s efforts to normalize with Riyadh. But a major aspect of the Israeli plans to open up relations with Gulf Arab states is to form an anti-Iran alliance in the region, which seems more unlikely due to the Saudi-Iran rapprochement.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who now leads the opposition in the Knesset, slammed Netanyahu’s government and said the Saudi-Iran deal signals the “collapse of the regional defense wall that we started building against Iran.”
“This is what happens when one deals with legal insanity all day instead of doing one’s job against Iran and strengthening relations with the United States,” Lapid added, referring to the Netanyahu government’s judicial overhaul.
The day before the Saudi-Iran deal was announced, The Wall Street Journal reported that Saudi Arabia was asking the US for security guarantees and help to start a nuclear program as part of an agreement for Riyadh to normalize ties with Israel.