Blinken: Peace deal with Saudi Arabia must include Palestinian statehood

US Secretary of State says peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians is a prerequisite for normalization with Saudi Arabia.

By World Israel News Staff

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was interviewed by the Pod Save the World podcast Wednesday, saying that normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia must necessarily include a peace deal with the Palestinians and the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Blinken said during the podcast that for the deal with the Saudis to move along, Israel and the Palestinians “must resolve their differences” with the result being a two-state solution. The Secretary of State added that he believes the Saudis have made that demand clear to Israel as well.

“That’s clearly something that’s important to the Saudis in doing any kind of deal. It would be important to us, too. But I think every country involved, if this is to move forward, will clearly find significant tangible benefit in it…That’s the goal,” Blinken was quoted as saying.

The Secretary of State pointed out that an agreement with the Palestinian Authority was far from being a foregone conclusion, however. “Now, again, whether we can get there, the jury’s out. Because the practical substance of this is challenging, it’s hard, but we’re working on it, and I think the labor is well worth the fruit that could be produced,” he said.

Earlier this month, the White House stated that it was “working closely” with Saudi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to establish parameters for negotiations with their Israeli counterparts. The report further states that Biden has offered the Palestinians a “comprehensive financial and social aid package” that would “transform” its economy.

The Palestinian Authority, for its part, appeared to promise that they would avoid “embarrassing” the Saudis by criticizing or publicly rejecting a future deal between Jerusalem and Riyadh as they had done after the signing of the Abraham Accords between Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain in 2020.

While Trump’s Abraham Accords changed the trajectory in the Arab-Israeli conflict, Saudi Arabia still sees itself as beholden to the Beirut-based Initiative of 2002, which committed the Arab states to establishing a comprehensive peace deal with Israel in return for the IDF’s full withdrawal from Gaza, the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria, and a Palestinian capital in eastern Jerusalem.

Negotiations with the Saudis will involve at least four factors – the Iranian nuclear threat and the Islamic Republic’s recent attempts at settling its conflict with Riyadh, a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, US interests in the region, and Netanyahu’s ability to make concessions while maintaining a narrow coalition government supported by right-wing parties that want no part of a deal with the Palestinians.

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