Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Riyadh, Saudi ArabiaiStock

Saudi Arabia would be willing to accept a political commitment from Israel to create a Palestinian state, rather than anything more binding, in a bid to get a defense pact with Washington approved before the US presidential election, three sources told Reuters on Friday.

According to the report, Saudi Arabia is increasingly keen to shore up its security and ward off threats from rival Iran so the kingdom can forge ahead with its ambitious plan to transform its economy and attract huge foreign investment, two regional sources said.

To create some wiggle room in talks about recognizing Israel and to get the US pact back on track, Saudi officials have told their US counterparts that Riyadh would not insist Israel take concrete steps to create a Palestinian state and would instead accept a political commitment to a two-state solution, two senior regional sources told Reuters.

A normalization deal would also bolster Israel's defenses against Iran and give US President Joe Biden a diplomatic victory to vaunt ahead of the November 5 presidential election, the report noted.

The Saudi officials have privately urged Washington to press Israel to end the Gaza war and commit to a "political horizon" for a Palestinian state, saying Riyadh would then normalize relations and help fund Gaza's reconstruction, one of the regional sources said.

Until now, Saudi officials have insisted that statehood for the Palestinian Arabs must be part of any process which concludes in the kingdom recognizing Israel and normalizing ties.

Israel and Saudi Arabia appeared to be on track towards normalization before Hamas’ October 7 attack against Israel and the war in Gaza which followed.

Shortly after the start of the war in Gaza, sources told Reuters that Saudi Arabia is putting the US-backed plans to normalize ties with Israel on ice.

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, later said that he believes talks on normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia will resume immediately after the conclusion of the war in Gaza.

In November, US National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby told reporters that Saudi Arabia is still interested in pursuing a normalization agreement with Israel “but obviously, we’re all focused, including our Saudi friends, on what’s going on in Gaza.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who recently met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, said after the meeting there was "clear interest" on the part of Saudi Arabia in pursuing relations with Israel.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)