False claim Saudis ended Israel normalization talks misattributed to Jerusalem Post | Fact check

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The claim: Saudi Arabia has ended 'all negotiations' to normalize diplomatic ties with Israel after Hamas attack

An Oct. 9 post (direct link, archive link) on X, formerly Twitter, shows Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

"BREAKING: Saudi Arabia ends 'all negotiations' on normalisation with Israel," reads the post. "Saudi Arabia has informed the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, that it is 'ending all negotiations' on normalising relations with Israel, reports the Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post, echoed by the Saudi media outlet The Saudi Post, published in the United States."

The post was reposted more than 7,000 times in less than a day.

Follow us on Facebook! Like our page to get updates throughout the day on our latest debunks

Our rating: False

There are no credible reports that Saudi Arabia has called off talks to normalize diplomatic ties with Israel. The post claims Saudi Arabia told Secretary of State Antony Blinken as much, but Blinken made no mention of it in multiple recent interviews. The post cites The Jerusalem Post, but there is no evidence the newspaper published such a report.

Blinken hasn't said Saudi Arabia ended normalization talks

Bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, said in a Fox News interview that aired Sept. 20 that his country was moving "closer" each day to a normalization deal with Israel, the first time he publicly acknowledged the process, CNN reported.

The U.S. has been working for years to negotiate a deal establishing diplomatic relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, an endeavor that began under President Donald Trump. Under Trump's administration, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco all signed normalization agreements with Israel, and a similar deal with Saudi Arabia could "pave the way" for other Arab and Muslim-majority countries to establish ties with Israel, AP reported.

But a deadly surprise attack against Israel on the morning of Oct. 7 by the Palestinian militant group Hamas had top White House aides scrambling to reaffirm Saudi Arabia's commitment to such a deal with Israel, according to The New York Times.

Blinken told Kristen Welker of NBC's "Meet the Press" on Oct. 8 that it was "entirely possible" the attacks were motivated in part by a desire to disrupt normalization efforts.

"There are a lot of really challenging issues to work through," Blinken said. "We're in the process of trying to do that."

Fact check: Video shows Israeli airstrike in Gaza in May, not current attack

Blinken never indicated that he had been informed by Saudi Arabia that it was ending normalization talks, as the post claims, and he made no mention of it in other recent interviews. Blinken spoke to Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Oct. 7 and Oct. 8, but readouts of those calls also do not mention normalization negotiations.

Gordon Gray, a professor of Gulf and Arabian Peninsula affairs at George Washington University and a former U.S. ambassador to Tunisia, said he was not aware of any official statements from Saudi Arabia announcing an end to normalization negotiations.

"I think there would be more coverage from mainstream Arab media if the Saudis had made such a definitive statement," Gray said.

The X post cites The Jerusalem Post, but such a report does not appear on the newspaper's website or social media accounts. A similar X post from an account called "The Saudi Post" repeats the claim verbatim, but provides no evidence to support it.

The Jerusalem Post did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry released a statement following the attacks, but it does not mention normalization.

The X user who shared the post could not be reached for comment.

Our fact-check sources:

Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or e-newspaperhere.

Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: No evidence Saudis ended normalization talks on Israel | Fact check