Such a development may signal towards softening of Saudi stance towards Israel
Israeli media has reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a secret meeting with the Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman during a brief trip to Neom. As per the reports, Netanyahu traveled on a private jet and the visit itself lasted a few hours. The Israeli government did not comment on the issue.
A peace deal in the making?
Recently, a number of Muslim countries have signed peace accords with Israel and are looking to forging financial and technological ties. There has been a lot of talk about Saudi Arabia’s possibility of recognizing Israel. However, the government has denied any such move and has maintained the traditional stance of supporting the Palestinian people. Since the news of the meeting, many experts are now wondering if such recognition may be a possibility in a near future. Saudi Arabia has in recent times supported the Israeli stance on Iran, a common adversary. This may bring the two generally at odds governments together.
The MBS factor
Muhammad bin Salman is the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. However, due to the old age of the current king, MBS has amassed more power than his predecessors and has a lot of say in state matters. From liberalizing the society to setting up a tourism-driven city like Neom, the crown prince has done much of what was unimaginable in the Kingdom a decade ago. It would not be beyond the realm of possibility that under his rule, the Kingdom may recognize Israel, or at least forge closer ties. Such an event may take many years, or decades, but is very much on cards.
Other Arab countries signing peace deals
The United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Bahrain have signed peace deals with Israel. This allows the citizens of the respective countries to travel between those countries as well as open all kinds of business opportunities. It will be interesting to see how these deals impact the regional politics of the Middle East over the next few decades.