In a recent interview on Fox News, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, dispelled rumours of halted negotiations with Israel and suggested that the two nations are steadily advancing towards a historic deal. While the specifics remain undisclosed, the Crown Prince’s comments underscore the significance of considering Palestinian interests in any potential agreement.
Progress Amidst Uncertainty
Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, often referred to as MBS, expressed his commitment to resolving the Palestinian issue, emphasising its paramount importance. He stated, “The Palestinian problem is crucial to us. That section has to be resolved. We must decide our course of action. In the event that we succeed, we hope that it will make life easier for Palestinians and enable Israel to participate in the Middle East.”
Although his remarks lacked explicit details, they serve as a clear message to Israel: any deal must encompass concessions benefiting the Palestinians. The nature of these concessions remains uncertain, with a move towards a Palestinian state appearing less likely than more modest agreements.
Negotiations between Saudi Arabia and Israel appear to be gaining momentum. Notably, Ramallah, the de facto administrative capital of Palestine, actively participates in the process, advocating for measures such as the reopening of the US Consulate in East Jerusalem and the transfer of certain West Bank lands to Palestinian control.
A potential agreement carries the potential for a transformative moment in the Middle East, extending beyond the Palestinian issue. The involvement of key figures, including MBS, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Joe Biden, remains shrouded in secrecy, making MBS’s assertion of progress all the more significant.
Obstacles on the Horizon
While optimism surrounds the negotiations, significant barriers remain. Implementing substantial concessions for Palestinians could face resistance within Israel’s hard-right coalition. Benjamin Netanyahu may need to secure support from moderate opposition parties to overcome these hurdles.
Earlier in the day, Netanyahu met with President Joe Biden in New York, marking the longest wait for an Israeli leader to meet a US president since 1964. Discussions centred on the potential deal with Saudi Arabia and addressed security, economics, and the importance of a two-state solution. President Biden also reiterated his concerns about Netanyahu’s judicial reforms, reflecting Washington’s role in seeking concessions from all parties involved.
In the midst of uncertainty, one thing remains clear: the prospect of a groundbreaking agreement between Saudi Arabia and Israel continues to captivate the world’s attention.