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Report: Israel To Suspend Palestine Annexation Plans In Exchange For Saudi Arabia Peace Pact

Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu would suspend plans to annex parts of Judea and Samaria, known as the West Bank
Israel’s ex-premier and leader of the Likud party Benjamin Netanyahu addresses supporters at campaign headquarters in Jerusalem early on November 2, 2022. Netanyahu plans to create peace where he intends to back away from the West Bank. MENAHAM KAHANA/JNS

 Israel is ready to suspend the annexation of Saudi Arabia in exchange for normalization of relations with Saudi Arabia, according to a report over the weekend.  Netanyahu said he hopes to welcome Saudi Arabia into the circle of countries that have joined the Abraham Accords. 

“I think we can end the Arab-Israeli conflict and achieve peace with the Palestinians, we just have to be creative about it,” Netanyahu said in an interview with the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV.

Talks are underway between Israel, the United States and Saudi Arabia to this end, Yediot Aharonot reported. 

 

“I hope to bring about a full, formal peace as we’ve done with the other Gulf states like Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates,” he said during an interview with Jewish Insider on Dec. 23. 

According to i24 News, Riyadh has previously conditioned normalization with Israel on a Palestinian state. However, the Saudis have indicated recently that the Gulf state is looking to normalize relations with Israel and that a final resolution to the Palestinian issue may not impede progress on this front. Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir recently told a group of U.S. Jewish leaders that the “direction” is heading toward normalization but cautioned that “it will take more time.”

“The traditional (U.S.) alliance with Saudi Arabia and other countries, has to be reaffirmed. There should not be periodic swings, or even wild swings in this relationship, because I think that the alliance…is the anchor of stability in our region,” Netanyahu said according to media reports.

Netanyahu also touched on the Abraham Accords – the series of agreements between Tel Aviv and four Arab states to normalize relations – which were conducted under his administration over the past few years with the backing of former US president Donald Trump.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a meeting with Lebanon’s Christian Maronite patriarch on November 14, 2017. The Accords put paid to the idea that peace with the Palestinians must come first before a wider regional peace with Arab states would be possible.  FAYEZ NURELDINE/JNS

While Saudi Arabia applauded the accords, it did not partake in them and refused to normalize relations with Israel until Palestinian statehood is fulfilled, or the occupation is terminated. Netanyahu expressed his aim to change that and lure Riyadh into entering the accords.

“I think the peace with Saudi Arabia will serve two purposes. It will be a quantum leap for an overall peace between Israel and the Arab world. It will change our region in ways that are unimaginable. And I think it will facilitate, ultimately, a Palestinian-Israeli peace,” he claimed. “I believe in that. I intend to pursue it.”

Four Arab countries normalized relations with Israel as part of the 2020 Abraham Accords. The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan agreed to establish diplomatic ties with Israel under the U.S.-brokered agreement. If the terms of the bargain are accurate, it would represent a great achievement for Netanyahu by selling the same thing twice: suspension of annexation in 2020 and in the coming period when he becomes prime minister again. 

“This is a very important goal, because if we have peace with Saudi Arabia, we are effectively going to bring an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict,” he added. 

Netanyahu noted that the Saudis have already taken steps showing that they are amenable to full normalization. 

“The Saudi government’s decision to open up Saudi airspace to Israel occurred before the Abraham Accords, that gives you a pretty good clue that they didn’t look askance at the Abraham Accords. This was done in 2018, the Abraham Accords were done in 2020,” he said. 

The Accords put paid to the idea that peace with the Palestinians must come first before a wider regional peace with Arab states would be possible, Netanyahu continued. 

Israel’s “rising economic, technological, military and diplomatic power” made it possible to break out of the “Palestinian straitjacket,” leading Arab countries to view Israel as a potential ally and partner rather than as an enemy, he said.

 

Produced in association with Jewish News Syndicate.

(Additional reporting provided by Alberto Arellano)

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