Hamas’ recent attack on Israel could disrupt the US-led negotiations to normalize ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia. The attack has understandably focused international attention once again on Israel-Palestine dynamics, and Saudi Arabia has released a statement advocating for the Palestinian cause. This attack and whatever fallout ensues will likely complicate the normalization talks and could delay or even disrupt them.
There are a few reasons why Hamas may have sought to disrupt the normalization talks. First, Hamas is opposed to any normalization between Israel and Arab states. Hamas sees itself as the representative of all Palestinians, and it believes that no other Palestinian faction has the authority to negotiate with Israel. Hamas also believes that normalization will legitimize Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory and make it more difficult to achieve Palestinian independence.
Second, Hamas may have been motivated by domestic political considerations. Hamas is facing increasing challenges from its rivals, particularly the Palestinian Authority. By launching a rocket attack on Israel, Hamas may have hoped to shore up its support among the Palestinian people and demonstrate that it is still the leading Palestinian resistance group.
Third, Hamas may have been trying to send a message to the Biden administration. The Biden administration has expressed support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but it has also been working to improve relations with Saudi Arabia. Hamas’ attack may have been an attempt to warn the Biden administration that it will not tolerate any normalization between Israel and Arab states that does not come at the expense of Palestinian rights.
The fallout from Hamas’ attack is still unfolding, but it is clear that the attack will have a negative impact on the US-led normalization talks. The Saudi government has already expressed its support for the Palestinian cause, and it is likely that Riyadh will be less willing to engage in normalization with Israel in the wake of the attack.
The Biden administration will need to carefully manage the fallout from the attack and find a way to keep the normalization talks on track. However, it is clear that Hamas’ attack has made the Biden administration’s task more difficult.