DECEMBER 9, 2022
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Saudi Crown Prince Signals Accelerated Economic Integration with Israel Amid Investment Forum

Saudi Crown Prince Signals Accelerated Economic Integration with Israel Amid Investment Forum

At the Saudi-Indian Investment Forum following the G20 meeting in India, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman announced the creation of the Economic Corridor by New Delhi. This corridor, connecting India, the Middle East, and Europe, aims to enhance economic connectivity and achieve common interests among the involved countries. Bin Salman emphasized that the Economic Corridor, which includes Israel, would contribute to infrastructure development, railways, port connections, improved flow of goods and services, and enhanced trade exchange.

Despite controversy surrounding Saudi conditions for normalizing ties with Israel, Bin Salman's remarks clarified the Kingdom's commitment to the matter. He spoke openly about common interests and trade exchange among the countries involved, dispelling ambiguities about the real relationship between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Emirati political analyst Salem AlKetbi highlighted the Economic Corridor as a common ground for cooperation and integration, asserting that economics serves as a gateway to politics. AlKetbi noted that Saudi Arabia is involved in geopolitical arrangements with Israel as a genuine part of the region, indicating a shift away from concerns about the Palestinian issue.

Former US Special Envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt, who frequently visits Saudi Arabia, emphasized the Kingdom's "unbelievable transformation" and advised President Joe Biden to focus on direct talks, avoiding pressuring Israel on the Palestinian issue beyond Saudi preferences. Greenblatt's experiences, including wearing a Jewish kippa without negative responses in Saudi Arabia, suggest that the Kingdom has moved beyond mere normalization, with economic progress and cooperation already underway.

In September, an Israeli delegation led by Tourism Minister Haim Katz visited Saudi Arabia for the UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting, expressing the potential for cooperation in tourism to bring hearts together. Katz hinted at an existing normalization but acknowledged the need for further public acceptance. Subsequently, Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi led a delegation to Saudi Arabia for the Universal Postal Union Congress, marking another step in growing ties between the two nations.

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