J Street Welcomes 20 Senators’ Letter on US Role in Israel-Saudi Normalization

October 4, 2023

J Street welcomes a new letter to President Biden from 20 US Senators which raises important questions and concerns about the US role in any potential normalization agreement between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

The letter, led by Senators Murphy, Van Hollen and Welch and Senate Majority Whip Durbin, supports the goal of Saudi-Israel normalization, while calling on the Biden administration to ensure any package of agreements related to potential normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia aligns with US national security interests in the region – including concrete steps to preserve the possibility of a future Palestinian state and halt deepening annexation of the occupied West Bank.

The Senators write that any agreement “should include, among other measures, a commitment by Israel not to annex any or all of the West Bank; to halt settlement construction and expansion; to dismantle illegal outposts (including those that have been retroactively “legalized”); and to allow the natural growth of Palestinian towns, cities and population centers and the ability to travel without interference between and among contiguous Palestinian areas.”

As an organization that supports the establishment of normal relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, J Street strongly agrees that any normalization agreement should be leveraged to promote the ultimate resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which remains a core interest for Israelis, Palestinians and the United States.

Likewise, we agree with the Senators that any agreement should ensure that any advancement of a Saudi civilian nuclear program comes with the appropriate stringent safeguards to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons throughout the Middle East. J Street also believes that any security guarantee for Saudi Arabia must be carefully assessed by Congress to ensure that it advances US national security interests in the region and does not subordinate our interests to normalization at any possible price.

We look forward to seeing how the Biden Administration responds to the Senators’ concerns and parameters, and how they work to address them as discussions regarding normalization continue.