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Sullivan links Israel-Saudi normalization to Palestinian state

A two-state solution is part of “the basic recipe" for peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors, said the U.S. National Security Advisor.

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. Credit: U.S. Virtual Embassy Iran.
U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. Credit: U.S. Virtual Embassy Iran.

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Tuesday linked Israel-Saudi normalization with Palestinian statehood.

During an address at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Sullivan said, “The basic recipe, which is peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors, a two-state solution with Israel’s security guaranteed—these pieces are not, in a way, operating in completely separate spheres. They are linked and connected; they were before Oct. 7, they remain linked today, and they’re something that we’re going to have to continue to work on.”

Sullivan outlined Washington’s long-term vision for the Middle East region after the Israel-Hamas war ends, highlighting four points: “A future where Gaza is never again used as a platform for terror. A future where Israelis and Arabs can live in peace, Palestinians have a state of their own, and Israel’s security is assured.”

Prior to Hamas’s bloody assault on southern Israel, the Biden administration was working on brokering a deal for Riyadh to join the Abraham Accords.

The Trump administration-brokered accords normalized relations between Israel and four Arab nations: The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan.

A week and a day before the massacre, U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby announced that Jerusalem and Riyadh had “hammered out” the contours of a possible American-mediated normalization agreement.

“All sides have hammered out, I think, a basic framework for what, you know, what we might be able to drive at,” he said.

Reuters reported at the time that Saudi Arabia was not conditioning a peace deal with Israel on the establishment of a Palestinian state. However, the Biden administration appears to now be pushing for a Palestinian state as part of any deal, and the Saudis are discussing this as well.

Also on Tuesday at Davos, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan connected Israeli normalization with a Palestinian state.

“We agree that regional peace includes peace for Israel, but that could only happen through peace for the Palestinians through a Palestinian state,” he said.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressed the importance of a Palestinian state during an interview with CNBC on Tuesday in Davos.

“You have to resolve the Palestinian question,” Blinken said. “Arab countries are saying this…Look, we’re not going to get into the business, for example, of rebuilding Gaza only to have it leveled again in a year or five years and then be asked to rebuild it again,” he added.

“You’re in a place right now, where, again, Arab countries, including countries like Saudi Arabia, are prepared to do things in their relationship with Israel they were never prepared to do before. That opens up an entirely different future, a much more secure future,” said Blinken.

“In terms of Israel’s own security, the Arab piece of the equation and the Palestinian peace—that’s the way to true lasting security,” he added.

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