Hello and welcome to the details of Hamas attacked Israel to derail its warming ties with Saudis, says Biden and now with the details
Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - US President Joe Biden addresses the nation on the conflict between Israel and Gaza and the Russian invasion of Ukraine from the Oval Office of the White House in Washington October 19, 2023. — Pool pic via AFP
WASHINGTON, Oct 21 — President Joe Biden said yesterday that he believed Hamas’s brutal attack on Israel two weeks ago was aimed at disrupting warming ties between the country and Saudi Arabia.
“One of the reasons why they acted like they did... why Hamas moved on Israel... (was) because they knew I was about to sit down with the Saudis,” Biden told guests at a campaign fundraiser.
“The Saudis wanted to recognise Israel... unite the Middle East,” he said.
Momentum toward a landmark US-brokered deal to normalize relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia — guardian of Islam’s two holiest sites — was shattered by the October 7 attack by Hamas militants on Israel.
The Islamist group stormed into Israel from the Gaza Strip, taking more than 200 hostages and killing at least 1,400 people, mostly civilians who were shot, mutilated or burnt to death on the first day of the raid, according to Israeli officials.
Israel has since vowed to destroy Hamas, and says around 1,500 of the group’s fighters were killed in clashes before its army regained control of the area initially under attack.
A bombing campaign launched in response has levelled entire city blocks in Gaza, so far killing 4,137 Palestinians, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.
Saudi officials announced on October 14 during a visit to Riyadh by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that the country had suspended talks with Israel on normalization of relations.
Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, had spoken of progress with Israel but also insisted on movement on the Palestinian cause.
The Gulf kingdom has never recognised Israel and has not joined the 2020 Abraham Accords, brokered by the United States, which led neighbouring Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, as well as Morocco, to establish diplomatic ties with Israel.
The Biden administration had pressed Saudi Arabia to follow suit, with Riyadh demanding in exchange security guarantees from Washington and assistance in developing a civil nuclear programme.
In an interview with Fox News last month, Saudi’s crown prince said he was “getting closer every day” to a normalization agreement with Israel, while emphasizing the importance of the Palestinian question for his country.
Hamas, the Palestinian movement in power in the Gaza Strip, opposes normalization agreements with Israel. — AFP
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