This story was promulgated by Israeli journalist Barak Ravid who published it both on Walla and Axios, citing a high-level Israeli official: President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed at their meeting in New York last week that the “Palestinian” component in an agreement with Saudi Arabia would be based on the principle of maintaining the ability to reach a peace agreement between Israel and the “Palestinians” in the future.
This buy-now-pay-later deal was the result of the two leaders’ need to appease two completely different constituencies: Biden must win the support of Arab voters in Michigan and Ohio, two swing states that may determine the outcome of the November 2024 elections; and Netanyahu must cajole the religious Zionist members of his coalition government who were threatening to walk should he agree to a Palestinian State in exchange for a Saudi peace agreement.
In a September 13 press conference, Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared explicitly: “Normalization – any of the efforts that are going on to improve relations between Israel and its neighbors – are not, cannot be a substitute for Israel and the Palestinians resolving their differences and having a much better future for Palestinians. And in our judgment, of course, that must – needs to involve a two-state solution. So it’s also clear from what we hear from the Saudis that if this process is to move forward, the Palestinian piece is going to be very important, too.”
How serious are the Saudis about this? Well, they just appointed an ambassador to the State of Palestine, one Nayef bin Bandar Al Sudairi, who was plucked from his job representing the Kingdom in Canada and planted in Ramallah. Promotion? Demotion? Lateral move? Time will tell. Al-Sudairi, who is the Saudi ambassador to “Palestine” and the consul general in Jerusalem, presented his credentials to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas at the “presidency headquarters” in Ramallah (that’s the legendary Mukataa).
Middle East expert Mordechai Keidar has been warning for months now that the Saudi peace deal is in reality an Iranian-Saudi conspiracy to boost the PA so that it would eventually be taken over by Hamas. Keidar also condemned an Al Sudairi tweet in Arabic that referred to the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean as “Canaan.” Seeing as the PA has declared the “Palestinians” to be the heirs of the pre-Joshua Canaanites, the ambassador was not even recognizing Biblical Israel.
Never mind that the “Palestinians” came to Eretz Israel with the hordes of Arab conquerors that took advantage of the vacuum that was left by the Roman Empire, and to this day they see themselves as just Arabs. The “Palestinian” thing only comes up together with the “Zionist occupation.”
According to Ravid, “Biden didn’t give Netanyahu a list of demands for concessions to the Palestinians but told the prime minister that he wants Israel to take steps that would keep the option for a two-state solution with the Palestinians open.”
So, what does it mean, to keep the 2-state solution alive? Netanyahu is hoping that it means money, lots of it, to be poured on Ramallah in the hope that it rebuilds its base by paying its employees, including its security forces. Ramallah is dreaming of a permanent seat at the UN. Alas, both dreams might come true.
For Netanyahu, a peace agreement with Saudi Arabia would be a game changer, catapulting his coalition from its current 56 to 58 mandates in the polls to 60+. He will go a long way to get it and will do anything, short of outright recognizing a Palestinian State, to get it.
Don’t ever forget Netanyahu’s Bar Ilan speech on June 14, 2009, which he concluded with: “If we receive this guarantee for demilitarization and the necessary security arrangements for Israel, and if the Palestinians recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people, we will be ready in a future peace settlement to reach a solution of a demilitarized Palestinian state alongside the Jewish state.”
In the decade-plus that followed, Netanyahu performed countless acrobatic acts to avoid living up to his Bar Ilan promise, but in politics, one must remember: whatever a political leader says he would do – he would do.