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February 20, 2024

Netanyahu Rejects US Proposal to Link Saudi Ties with Palestinian State Path

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Jan 18, 2024

Saudis Voice Interest in Ties with Israel, But Only After Palestinian Issue Resolved

Saudi Arabia has indicated potential openness to normalizing relations with Israel, but stressed it would only happen alongside progress on resolving the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The comments come after new violence in Gaza and as the US pushes Arab states to strengthen ties with Israel.

According to Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, Saudi Arabia has “always said normalization would happen when there is a peace agreement” between Israel and the Palestinians. Saudi normalization with Israel “remains tied to solving this issue”, he reiterated during the World Economic Forum in Davos this week.

Prince Faisal called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and de-escalation in the Red Sea to ensure stability in the region. He warned the situation could spiral with the “slightest mistake”.

His remarks follow the latest outbreak of violence in Gaza earlier this month which saw over 40 Palestinians killed. Israel insists it was targeting militants but the deaths of several children sparked international condemnation.

Netanyahu Rejects US Plan to Link Normalization with Palestinian Statehood

Behind the scenes, reports indicate the US recently floated a proposal to Prime Minister Netanyahu to advance normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia in return for backing eventual Palestinian statehood.

The US plan would see Riyadh take small initial steps to normalize economic ties with Israel. In return, Israel would commit to supporting the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza within provisional borders over the next four years.

US Proposal Key Points
Initial Saudi economic normalization with Israel
Israel supports Palestinian state within 4 years
State based on 1967 borders with land swaps

However Netanyahu is said to have rejected the offer, unwilling to tie Saudi ties to concessions on the sensitive Palestinian issue that could upset his right-wing base.

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan stressed in Davos this week that the two-state solution remains America’s preferred outcome for sustainable peace and security. But Netanyahu appears unmoved.

Saudis Balance Ties with Palestinian Issue

Analysts say the kingdom still favors normalizing relations with Israel as part of a wider realignment against mutual foe Iran. But Riyadh does not want to move faster than regional or domestic opinion allows.

“The Saudis are performing a very delicate balancing act”, said University of Riyadh Professor Jamal Khashoggi.

“On one hand, the geopolitical logic of Israeli-Saudi cooperation against Iran is obvious. But the Palestinian cause remains deeply important to Arabs and Muslims. The kingdom risks a fierce public backlash if people see them abandoning Palestinians while embracing Israel” he argued.

For now, Saudi Arabia is likely to confine closer engagement with Israel to the covert intelligence sphere. But momentum towards eventual normalization seems strong, so long as tangible progress is made on achieving Palestinian statehood.

Outlook: Normalization Still on the Cards

Despite the setbacks, the Biden Administration retains hopes of brokering a wider Israeli-Arab peace push during its remaining time in office. Officials believe the powerful lure of Saudi ties could still pressure Netanyahu back to the negotiating table with Palestinians.

“Netanyahu rejected US proposal for Saudi Israel normalization linked to Palestinian statehood” noted Haaretz correspondent Barak Ravid. “But the Biden admin thinks he will come around if the prospect of normalization with the Saudis is real.”

For Saudi Arabia, lingering regional tensions mean hopes remain that discreet security cooperation with Israel could become more public down the track. However normalization would hinge on concrete progress towards realizing Palestinian national ambitions after decades of setbacks.

Bridging the divide over Palestinian statehood remains key to unlocking the ultimate geopolitical prize – an Israeli-Saudi peace deal that reshapes regional relations. But despite hopeful signals, the complex road ahead suggests a historic breakthrough is still some way off.

Conclusion

In the wake of renewed Gaza violence, Saudi Arabia has reaffirmed interest in eventual ties with Israel. But it continues to condition normalization on resolution of Palestinian ambitions for statehood. Amid resistance from Netanyahu, the US faces a tough sell tying Saudi overtures to concessions on the Palestinian front. Yet the potential transformative impact of Israeli-Saudi peace means efforts will continue behind the scenes to bridge divides. Though with regional tensions simmering, a historic breakthrough looks distant for now.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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