Will the Israeli-Palestinian peace be brokered by Saudi Arabia

Will Israeli-Palestinian peace be brokered by Saudi Arabia?

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Will Israeli-Palestinian peace be brokered by Saudi Arabia?

When the United States offi­cially rec­og­nized Jerusalem as the cap­i­tal of Israel, reac­tions around the world were pretty much what every­one expected. Anti-​Israel activists were up in arms from San Fran­cisco to the EU. Mus­lim coun­tries protested. Vio­lence broke out in Israel. Mild objec­tions came from some of our allies, includ­ing Saudi Arabia.

One of the most impor­tant reac­tions came from the Pales­tini­ans them­selves who declared they would not nego­ti­ate for peace if the United States was involved. Surely the Trump admin­is­tra­tion knew this was likely, but they’ve been work­ing on a peace agree­ment that Israeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Netanyahu told Euro­pean lead­ers he liked this week­end. Why work on a peace deal if one party isn’t going to acknowl­edge it? To answer this, we look back a cou­ple of months to Mohammed bin Salman and Jared Kushner.

The Crown Prince of Saudi Ara­bia met after an unan­nounced trip by Pres­i­dent Trump’s senior adviser and son-​in-​law in Octo­ber. It was widely reported their two days of face-​to-​face meet­ings were about an Israeli-​Palestinian peace agree­ment. This made lit­tle sense at the time because Saudi Ara­bia has been in favor of such an agree­ment for a long time. There’s no need to send Kush­ner for intense meet­ings unless they had more to dis­cuss. Some (includ­ing I) have spec­u­lated that one topic of dis­cus­sion was the “cor­rup­tion purge” that hap­pened days after Kush­ner left the King­dom. It makes sense to coor­di­nate sto­ries ahead of a con­tro­ver­sial move to elim­i­nate any oppo­si­tion to the next King of Saudi Ara­bia. Could they have also dis­cussed Saudi Arabia’s role in a peace agreement?

There is no evi­dence of this that’s not cir­cum­stan­tial, but it’s easy to con­nect the dots once we look at it all as a whole. Saudi Ara­bia may be the per­fect proxy for a Trump peace agree­ment to be pre­sented to the Pales­tini­ans and Israelis. Netanyahu has already been told some of the details and seems poten­tially open to con­ces­sions in the agree­ment, a good sign if peace is to move for­ward. Pales­tin­ian leader Mah­moud Abbas will not work with the United States, but will likely work with the Saudis as a proxy.

All of this means the Saudis may end up being the key to Mid­dle East peace. Even if it’s the Trump admin­is­tra­tion that cre­ates the plan and sells it to the Israelis, it’s the Saudis who may actu­ally end up bro­ker­ing the deal. Keep an eye on this in the com­ing months. Chances are strong this will move quickly once it’s offi­cially rolling.

When the United States officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, reactions around the world were pretty much what everyone expected. Anti-Israel activists were up in arms from San Francisco to the EU. Muslim countries protested. Violence broke out in Israel. Mild objections came from some of our allies, including Saudi Arabia.

One of the most important reactions came from the Palestinians themselves who declared they would not negotiate for peace if the United States was involved. Surely the Trump administration knew this was likely, but they’ve been working on a peace agreement that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told European leaders he liked this weekend. Why work on a peace deal if one party isn’t going to acknowledge it? To answer this, we look back a couple of months to Mohammed bin Salman and Jared Kushner.

The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia met after an unannounced trip by President Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law in October. It was widely reported their two days of face-to-face meetings were about an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. This made little sense at the time because Saudi Arabia has been in favor of such an agreement for a long time. There’s no need to send Kushner for intense meetings unless they had more to discuss. Some (including I) have speculated that one topic of discussion was the “corruption purge” that happened days after Kushner left the Kingdom. It makes sense to coordinate stories ahead of a controversial move to eliminate any opposition to the next King of Saudi Arabia. Could they have also discussed Saudi Arabia’s role in a peace agreement?

There is no evidence of this that’s not circumstantial, but it’s easy to connect the dots once we look at it all as a whole. Saudi Arabia may be the perfect proxy for a Trump peace agreement to be presented to the Palestinians and Israelis. Netanyahu has already been told some of the details and seems potentially open to concessions in the agreement, a good sign if peace is to move forward. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas will not work with the United States, but will likely work with the Saudis as a proxy.

All of this means the Saudis may end up being the key to Middle East peace. Even if it’s the Trump administration that creates the plan and sells it to the Israelis, it’s the Saudis who may actually end up brokering the deal. Keep an eye on this in the coming months. Chances are strong this will move quickly once it’s officially rolling.