Report: US to Offer Saudi Arabia Defense Treaty to Spur Israel Normalization

Image copyright: Secretary Antony Blinken [via X]

The Facts

  • The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that the US has almost finalized a defense treaty with Saudi Arabia as part of a deal to encourage normalization with Israel, according to US and Saudi officials.

  • The defense pact, which would require a two-thirds majority in the US Senate to pass, would reportedly be a component of a larger deal including a US-Saudi civil nuclear program, actions supporting the formation of a Palestinian state, and an end to the war in Gaza.

The Spin

Pro-establishment narrative

Though the last eight months have proved both tragic and challenging, Israel and Saudi Arabia have a unique opportunity to advance regional peace and stability. A US defense pact with Saudi Arabia predicated on normalization with Israel would be a massive strategic victory in countering Iranian influence in the region and preventing Russia or China from gaining influence.

Establishment-critical narrative

A defense pact between the US and Saudi Arabia would be a terrible deal for the US and only put US interests at risk. As regional tensions are always simmering, a defense pact would mean that US forces may find themselves fighting in a war in which the US has no business being involved. US blood and treasure should not be wasted to defend a brutal monarchy.

Pro-Israel narrative

Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on Israel was the final nail in the coffin for the establishment of a Palestinian state. Since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, the enclave has essentially existed as a terrorist-run proto-state run by Hamas. Given the Palestinian Authority's inefficacy, Israel has no partners for peace, and the last 20 years in Gaza prove this. Though normalization with Saudi Arabia would certainly improve Israel's position in the region, it cannot tolerate a violent, terrorist-run Palestinian state.

Pro-Palestine narrative

Saudi normalization with Israel would be a betrayal of the Palestinian cause and would effectively remove any legitimacy the Saudi state has in the Arab and Muslim worlds. Arab states negotiating individual peace deals with Israel have consistently weakened the Palestinian cause and Arab unity — with Israel never actually changing its behavior toward those it occupies. Regional peace can only be achieved after the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Metaculus Prediction

Public figures in this story

Establishment split



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