Palestinian Stipulations for Embracing a Pivotal Saudi-Israeli Accord”

In a complex geopolitical landscape, Palestinian officials are seeking substantial gains in a potential three-way deal involving the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel. These demands include a significant injection of funds, control over land in the occupied West Bank, and a historic realignment of Middle East relations.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) engaged in talks with Saudi counterparts in Riyadh, with the possibility of meeting US officials. The US has long been pushing for a pact to normalize Israel-Saudi relations, which would include a significant security agreement.

However, various obstacles stand in the way of these agreements, and no immediate breakthroughs are expected. US President Joe Biden sees a Saudi-Israel deal as a valuable foreign policy achievement.

For Saudi Arabia, recognition of Israel would require US guarantees for advanced weaponry and a contentious civil nuclear program, including uranium enrichment.

Israel stands to benefit from trade and defense ties with Saudi Arabia, as it seeks historic integration in the region following normalization agreements with other Arab states in 2020.

To succeed, any deal must involve significant Israeli concessions to the Palestinians. This poses challenges for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who must address public sentiment historically opposed to Israel. President Biden also needs to show substantial gains for Palestinians to gain support from his party, despite concerns about Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.

The Palestinians’ demands include regaining control of parts of the West Bank, halting Israeli settlement growth, resuming Saudi financial support, reopening the US consulate in East Jerusalem, and restarting US-brokered negotiations with Israel.

These concessions are viewed as overreaching by some, given the Palestinian leadership’s official position of rejecting normalization without achieving an independent state.

The current approach reflects the Palestinian leadership’s difficult position, as they feel limited in their options to advance their cause through non-violent means.

In 2020, several Arab countries normalized ties with Israel, which the PA viewed as a betrayal of Arab solidarity. Now, engaging with Saudi Arabia may be a way to remind Riyadh of the Arab Peace Initiative’s goal of an independent Palestinian state.

However, there are significant risks for the Palestinian leadership, as previous normalization deals were seen by Palestinians as an abandonment of their cause. Additionally, Israeli concessions to the Palestinians may face opposition from Israel’s ultranationalist coalition.

Overall, the road to any comprehensive three-way deal involving the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel is fraught with complexities and challenges.

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