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The Hill
The Hill
21 Oct 2023
Tara Suter

NextImg:Biden suggests Hamas attack related to increased diplomacy between Israel, Saudi Arabia

President Biden suggested Friday evening that the Hamas attack on Israel earlier this month that sparked the recent violent conflict was related to increased diplomacy between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

“One of the reasons…why Hamas moved on Israel, is because they knew I was about to sit down with the Saudis,” Biden said during remarks at a campaign fundraiser.

“Guess what? The Saudis wanted to recognize Israel,” the former president continued. 

Israel and Saudi Arabia have been coming closer to normalization in recent times, and Biden has been working to foster a relationship between the two. 

“I think that under your leadership, Mr. President, we can forge a [historic] peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly told Biden last month, according to The Associated Press.

As a portion of any larger deal with Israel, Saudi Arabia was pressing for expanded Palestinian rights. However, in the wake of the Hamas attacks, talks stalled between the two countries.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) was in Saudi Arabia the weekend of the Hamas attack on Israel. She was meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on a possible peace agreement with Israel. 

“We had left the meeting the night before with such optimism, and then when we found out about the attacks on Israel, it really struck us that this has just made our task that much harder,” Ernst told The Hill.

“Obviously we were very sad about what was happening in Israel, the dynamics in the Middle East are very difficult, very difficult…it just really was difficult for us to face that next day knowing that, where we thought we were making advances, now it’s probably going to be on hold for just a bit.”