REPORT: US To Offer Major Treaty In Deal With Saudi Arabia

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The United States is nearing a landmark defense treaty with Saudi Arabia which would offer the Gulf state U.S. defense guarantees in exchange for Israeli normalization, the Wall Street Journal reported. 

The diplomatic plan is part of a Biden administration push to convince Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to agree to a ceasefire with Hamas in the war in Gaza. The Biden administration would offer Saudi Arabia a security guarantee and open the door for a normalization in relations between Jerusalem and Riyadh, a long-standing goal for Netanyahu, according to the Journal. 

But the U.S. treaty is conditional on Israel reaching a ceasefire agreement in Gaza and establishing a pathway for Palestinian statehood, a plan which the majority of Israelis oppose, according to the Journal. 

The treaty would be a reversal of rhetoric from Biden, who talked tough on the campaign trail about holding Saudi Arabia’s leaders accountable for the alleged murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

“Khashoggi was, in fact, murdered and dismembered, and I believe on the order of the crown prince” he said during a 2020 debate. “I would make it very clear, we were not going to, in fact, sell more weapons to them. We were going to, in fact, make them pay the price and make them, in fact, the pariah that they are,” Biden stated forcefully.


The Strategic Alliance Agreement would be the first security guarantee deal from the U.S. since America offered a similar guarantee to Japan in 1960. The agreement is “modeled loosely” on that mutual-defense pact between the U.S. and Japan, officials told the Journal. (RELATED: ‘We Can Make History Together’: Video Captures Historic Moment Between Israel And Saudi Arabia)

A security guarantee would require a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate.

The treaty has been in negotiating stages for at least a month, as U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan led a coalition to negotiate with Saudi Arabian crown prince Mohammed bin Salman in May, the Journal reported. 

The treaty hinges on congressional approval, but a rubber stamp is unlikely to come without a ceasefire in Gaza, according to the Journal. The U.S. is also drafting a concurrent Defense Cooperation Agreement which would boost weapons sales and allow for further cooperation in the joint take of combating threats from mutual enemies like Iran. 

The cooperation agreement could be enacted by executive order, according to the Journal. 

Netanyahu has long sought to increase ties and cooperation with Saudi Arabia. But he has also been adamantly opposed to a two-state solution for Palestine, and his constituents are increasingly agreeing with him. 

74% of Jewish Israelis oppose the idea of a Palestinian state even as a condition to a treaty with Saudi Arabia, the Journal reported.