The median prediction on Metaculus (https://www.metaculus.com/questions/6646/sa-israel-to-establish-diplomatic-relations/) is now 43%, down from 45% at our initial forecast in February of 21%. Here, the median is 4%.
In our initial forecast (https://globalguessing.com/metaculus-mondays-vol3/) some of the factors we were considering were:
** Saudi Arabia's leadership dynamics
** The situation in Palestine
** Saudi government constraints
** Biden's political priorities
While there hasn't necessarily been a change in any of those factors since our initial prediction, there are two other factors that we considered that are the impetus behind our update.
First, two months have passed since our initial prediction which lowered the odds for this question slightly. The downward pressure effects of this factor are only slight because recent months have been occupied with an election and COVID vaccinations, making the time remaining slightly more irrelevant.
Next, we considered a recent report that Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan said normalizing ties with Israel would bring ‘tremendous benefits’ to the Middle East. At the same time, however, the foreign minister also said that any change in relations would be predicated on a shift in the Israeli-Palestine situation. However, given a 56% median likelihood on Metaculus (https://www.metaculus.com/questions/6920/will-israel-hold-a-second-election-in-2021/) and $.53 price on Predict It (https://www.predictit.org/markets/detail/7197/Will-Israel-hold-a-second-national-election-for-Knesset-in-2021) for a second national election in 2021, this signal is also minor.
We gave the positive effects of this report at 1%, with a net effect of both new factors at -1%. This puts our updated forecast at 20% chance that Israel and Saudi Arabia normalize relations before 2022.