Crown prince Mohamad bin Salman > US State Department, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Biden administration warned on Monday that the normalisation of diplomatic ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia would be a “long process” despite being a presidential priority.

Biden is set to arrive in Israel on Wednesday for a visit that will include Israel and the Palestinian Territories, before leaving for Saudi Arabia on Friday.

Israeli media has seen much speculation around the hope for progress in normalisation between Israel and Saudi as a result of the visit.

However, US national security adviser Jake Sullivan played down hopes for a breakthrough in a briefing to reporters on Monday.

“I’m not going to get ahead of very intensive work that will be done in the course of this trip”, he cautioned.

“Normalisation of any kind would be a long process”, he added.

Biden will be the first US president to fly directly from Israel to Saudi Arabia, in a move that he described as a “small symbol” of warming ties between Jerusalem and Riyadh.

Israel’s deputy foreign minister, Idan Roll, repeated his view on Monday that normalisation with the Saudis would happen in stages, unlike the surprise announcement of the Abraham Accords in 2020, which saw normalisation with the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan effectively overnight.