A deal brokered by China between Saudi Arabia and Iran to restore diplomatic relations adds concerns for Israel as it seeks to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon.
The Friday agreement has led to strong responses from leaders in Israel in the wake of the announcement.
“It’s a blow to Israel’s notion and efforts in recent years to try to form an anti-Iran bloc in the region,” said Yoel Guzansky, an expert on the Persian Gulf at the Institute for National Security Studies, an Israeli think tank, according to Politico. “If you see the Middle East as a zero-sum game, which Israel and Iran do, a diplomatic win for Iran is very bad news for Israel.”
Former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Danny Danon, who recently predicted a peace agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia, seemed less concerned over the news.
“This is not supporting our efforts,” he said, otherwise quiet about the change.
The news comes as Israel has worked diligently to expand the circle of peace in the region and build a coalition in opposition to Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Most recently, Azerbaijan announced its opening of an embassy in Jerusalem, a strong addition as the nation shares a border with Iran.
In addition, reports have grown concerning several additional nations Israel has met with about the potential to join the Abraham Accords. The 2020 agreement signed between Israel, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates has continued to lead to success between the nations and others as the economic connections have led to billions of dollars in partnerships.
Israel also continues to quietly operate to oppose likely Iranian weapons shipments near its borders. In an alleged air strike on a Damascus airport in Syria, weapons were believed to have been destroyed in yet another attempt to arm proxies bordering Israel to the north.