The Israel Defense Forces have reportedly begun studying the range of ramifications for Israel on a military level should a normalization deal with Saudi Arabia be achieved.
The study will look at the possible consequences of the deal, including the options for partnerships and cooperation, along with risks involved for Israel’s security, the Walla news site reported Sunday.
The work is being done by a range of IDF branches, including intelligence, strategic planning, the Iran department, the Air Force and others. It will also look at the different kinds of nuclear programs that Saudi Arabia could set up.
The findings will be presented to Chief of Staff Herzi Levi and then to Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, before being brought to the cabinet, the unsourced report said, noting there was currently no timeframe for the study.
The preparations come as US President Joe Biden’s administration is actively engaging Riyadh and Jerusalem to try to broker a normalization deal between the two countries. As part of the framework, Saudi Arabia is also asking the US for a major mutual defense pact and significant arms deals, as well as Israeli concessions to the Palestinians.
Saudi Arabia has reportedly asked the US to green-light its development of a civilian nuclear program as part of its terms for normalizing relations with Israel. The Saudis are also believed to be seeking access to advanced American defense technology.
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters Friday that a “basic framework” on a deal has been reached, but stressed the “complex” arrangement would require “compromise” from all sides.
Speaking last month at the UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel was “on the cusp” of a historic deal with Saudi Arabia.
Those comments came days after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, told Fox News that “every day we get closer” to his country normalizing ties with Israel, while clarifying that the Palestinian issue is still a “very important” component of the process and declaring that Saudi Arabia will have to obtain a nuclear weapon if Iran does.
The talks have already led to a shift in ties.
Communication Minister Shlomo Karhi is slated to become the second minister to publicly visit Saudi Arabia when he leads an Israeli delegation to the Universal Postal Union’s 2023 Extraordinary Congress on Monday.
Karhi is set to speak at the event that runs until Thursday, less than a week after Tourism Minister Haim Katz visited the kingdom for a United Nations conference.
Earlier in September, an Israeli delegation of nine staffers flew to Saudi Arabia as observers for the UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting. The delegation was led by the head of Israel’s Antiquities Authority and included diplomats, according to an Israeli official.