"Israel", KSA negotiating regional islands, step to normalization
The ceding of the islands to Saudi Arabia with the approval and patronage of "Israel" and the US will be the main stepping stone towards normalization between Riyadh and "Tel Aviv."
As an extension of the normalization agreements, the US administration has been mediating negotiations to cede the very strategic islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia, which claimed ownership of them before 1950, the year when Riyadh gave Cairo authority over them.
If the negotiations between the US, "Israel", Saudi Arabia and Egypt are successful, this will pave the way for the normalization of relations between "Israel" and Saudi Arabia.
Five Israeli sources told Axios that a predeterminant for the coming normalization process is the transfer of authority of the two islands from Egypt to Saudi Arabia. Although the island has been demilitarized as per the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli normalization agreement, it holds significant strategic importance, as it engulfs the passage into the Red Sea, up to "Eilat," "Israel's" bound-to-boom economic and trade hub, in addition to the port of Aqaba in Jordan.
For a long time, "Israel" has been working on assuming its authority over the Red Sea. It used the war on Yemen to assume authority over the Strait of Bab Al-Mandeb by constructing military bases and planting authority in Eritrea and Socotra. The occupation has also been looking to construct the "Ben Gurion" Canal, which connects the Red Sea to the Mediterranean, right through "Eilat".
With the US-brokered agreement between Saudi Arabia and "Israel" over the strategic islands, not only will the authority island witness a transfer, but the demilitarized status of the islands might also get a change, in addition to changes in US foreign policy.
The sources who spoke to Axios divulged that the agreement is not complete and that sensitive negotiations are in the process.
The White House seeks to strike a deal before Biden's visit to "Israel" in June; despite the strained relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia, Biden may also be passing by Riyadh as divulged by the sources.
The agreement would constitute the most significant US foreign policy achievement in the region since the 2020 normalization agreements, which normalized Israeli diplomacy with certain Arab states, including Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain.
At the time of the signing, Saudi Arabia said they supported the agreements but would not normalize relations unless there is tangible progress in the "peace process" between "Israel" and Palestine.
In 2018, the Supreme Court approved to transfer of sovereignty of the islands back to Saudi Arabia despite protests in June 2017.
But why does "Israel" have a say in this? The apartheid regime becomes an official lobbyist in the treaty, while it supervises the maintenance of multinational 'observers' on the islands, who are also responsible for maintaining Israeli freedom of navigation through the straits - a move of stronghold.
The agreement, according to White House Middle East coordinator, Brett McGurk, has been delayed due to the issue of multinational force of observers: Riyadh seeks to keep the island demilitarized while committing to full freedom of navigation, but also demands the expulsion of multinational observers, according to the sources.
Israeli officials, on their side, agreed to end the presence of the observers - but, in turn, demanded alternative security arrangements. In addition, "Israel" also demands that Saudi Arabia allow more Israeli flights to glide over its airspace, significantly abbreviating distances to China, Thailand and India, according to the sources.
All in all, normalization agreements are to the benefit and security of the Israeli occupation. All normalization agreements in the Arab world entail tentacles of surveillance and hyper-militarization, constituting breaches of sovereignty of Arab peoples. The ceding of the islands, under the patronage of "Israel," will be another lamb to the sacrifice of regional independence.