Saudi Arabia Wants Two-State Solution for Palestine With Israel First
Israel’s hopes for normalization in relations with Saudi Arabia has hit the bottom as the kingdom is pushing for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This demand is contrary to what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been saying that “the Palestinian issue is not as important”. He said Palestine has not been a significant component of the normalization talks with Saudi Arabia.
However, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says it’s clear that the Palestinian piece is going to be very important. “In our judgment, that needs to involve a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” In June, Blinken said the US has told Israel that if there’s a fire burning in their backyard, it’s going to be a lot tougher to deepen the existing agreements and expand them, to potentially include Saudi Arabia.
The top diplomat explained if Israel were to find itself either by intent or by accident responsible for the West Bank, what is that going to mean in terms of the allocation of resources, including security resources. Washington urged Israel to take effective steps to de-escalate, and there was some success in Easter, Passover and Ramadan. But the situation deteriorated drastically and accelerated negatively.
US Supports World Peace
On Wednesday, Blinken said “We hear from the Saudis that if this process is to move forward the Palestinian piece is going to be very important. Israeli normalization with the Arab world and any of the efforts that are going on to improve relations between Israel and its neighbors cannot be a substitute for Israel and the Palestinians resolving their differences and having a much better future for Palestinians.”
He said it’s not about individual leaders or individual governments. “It’s about the substance of the issue and whether we can advance a world that’s a little bit more peaceful, a little bit more prosperous, a little bit more full of opportunity.”
Blinken added that if the US could help achieve normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia, it would move the world in that direction.
Divisions in Israel
National Security Advisor Tzahi Hanegbi favors Palestinians as part of the deal, but cannot come at the cost of Israeli security. But he was brushed off by Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich who said the Hanegbi doesn’t speak for the government which opposes any concessions to the Palestinians.
Eli Cohen, Israel’s Foreign Minister, also said Israel will not submit to external dictates on the issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He added that they will expand the Abrahamic agreements. But states and entities that will not participate in expanding and deepening the circle of peace and normalization will be left behind and become irrelevant.