Axios has reported that McGurk had arrived in Saudi Arabia to hold “talks with Saudi officials that will focus on the administration’s efforts to reach a normalization agreement between the Israel and the kingdom as well as other issues.”
According to the report, McGurk was also expected to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman to discuss the kingdom’s normalization of relations with Israel.
McGurk’s visit is part of attempts by the White House to push for a Saudi-Israeli deal in the next six to seven months before Biden’s presidential election campaigns.
The top advisor’s trip to Saudi Arabia comes less than two weeks after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited the kingdom and met bin Salman, with Saudi officials having snubbed the US diplomat’s latest push for the normalization deal.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said at a joint press conference with Blinken that “without finding a pathway to peace for the Palestinian people…any normalization will have limited benefits.”
Saudi Arabia cautiously welcomed the US-brokered normalization deals between the Israeli regime and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco in 2020.
The oil-rich kingdom itself, however, has been expected to jump on the bandwagon since then, as the two sides have seen growing contacts and de-facto rapprochement in recent years, despite claims that it is committed to the 2002 so-called Arab Peace Initiative, which conditions normalizing ties with Israel on the establishment of an independent, sovereign Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.
The Riyadh regime in November 2020 granted permission for Israeli airlines to use its airspace, hours before the first Israeli flight to the UAE was set to take off.
Palestinian leaders, activists and ordinary people have repeatedly rejected Arab-Israeli normalization deals as “a stab in the back of the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people.”