Unity gov’t for Saudi peace deal, Biden admin tells Israel – report

Washington reportedly pressuring Netanyahu to agree to unity government and freeze judicial reform, along with concessions to the Palestinians, in exchange for peace deal with Saudi Arabia.

By World Israel News Staff

The Biden administration is reportedly pressuring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to freeze the judicial overhaul and include left-wing and centrists parties in a broad unity government in exchange for a U.S.-brokered peace deal with Saudi Arabia.

Such an agreement would also require sweeping concessions to the Palestinians, as the Gulf kingdom has repeatedly vocalized that it would not entertain the prospect of normalization with Israel unless the Palestinians are provided with land for their own state, including eastern Jerusalem as its capital.

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, a mouthpiece for President Joe Biden, speculated last week that Saudi and American demands towards Netanyahu for the agreement may include a pledge not to annex Judea and Samaria, to freeze expansion of Jewish communities in the region, and to transfer land to the Palestinians for a future state.

“If the U.S. forges a security alliance with Saudi Arabia — on the conditions that it normalize relations with Israel and that Israel make meaningful concessions to the Palestinians — Netanyahu’s ruling coalition of Jewish supremacists and religious extremists would have to answer this question: You can annex the West Bank, or you can have peace with Saudi Arabia and the whole Muslim world, but you can’t have both, so which will it be?”

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The reports also come on the heels of rumors in Hebrew-language media that some in Netanyahu’s Likud party are pressuring him to drop Religious Zionism as a coalition partner and bring in former defense minister Benny Gantz’s National Unity party.

Washington expressed concern over the passage of the first judicial reform law last week, and President Joe Biden has voiced his reservations regarding the overhaul.

The potential peace deal with Saudi Arabia could serve as an incentive to force the Israeli government to halt the reforms, after Netanyahu’s coalition expressed that they intend to push forward despite American opposition.

The New York Times noted that National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan is currently in Saudi Arabia for the second time in less than three months, suggesting that ongoing negotiations for a normalization agreement are progressing.

In a statement, the White House said that Sullivan had traveled to Riyadh “to discuss bilateral and regional matters, including initiatives to advance a common vision for a more peaceful, secure, prosperous, and stable Middle East region interconnected with the world.”