ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 145

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Biden asserts link between Hamas assault and US push for Israel-Saudi normalization

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

US President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with the EU Commission at the White House in Washington on October 20, 2023 (Olivier Douliery/AFP)
US President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with the EU Commission at the White House in Washington on October 20, 2023 (Olivier Douliery/AFP)

US President Joe Biden says at a campaign fundraiser, “one of the reasons Hamas moved on Israel… they knew that I was about to sit down with the Saudis.”

“Guess what the Saudis wanted to recognize Israel,” he says, offering details on US efforts to broker a normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia that appear to have been put on hold following the October 7 Hamas onslaught.

Saudi Arabia has been very critical of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza over the past two weeks and US officials have acknowledged that the normalization effort is no longer their immediate focus, as they work to support Israel against Hamas.

Biden officials have suggested that scuttling the normalization effort may have been a motivation of Hamas but the president’s remarks appear the furthest anyone in his administration has gone to suggest a direct correlation.

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