Blinken Calls for End to Gaza War and Two-State Solution for Saudi Deal

The United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, stated in Tel Aviv that Saudi normalization with Israel is contingent on ending the Gaza war and Israel’s commitment to a two-state solution. Blinken’s conversation with the Crown Prince in Saudi Arabia revolved around the need for calm in Gaza and a clear path to a Palestinian state. He emphasized the willingness of the US and other regional countries to align with Israel, but highlighted the requirement for Palestinian statehood recognition on the pre-1967 lines, with east Jerusalem as the capital, as stated by the Saudi Foreign Ministry. The Saudi stance rejects Israel’s opposition to Palestinian statehood and seeks diplomatic ties along with security assurances. However, Israel’s opposition to Palestinian statehood prior to the recent war has posed challenges to normalization attempts. Blinken also acknowledged previous efforts for normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia, which included a necessary Palestinian component. He reiterated the US commitment to pursuing a just and lasting peace in the region, with a concrete path to a Palestinian state that ensures security for Israel. During his discussions with various officials in the region, Blinken addressed the steps needed to actualize this path, including reforms in Palestinian governance. Additionally, he mentioned Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ plea for US recognition of Palestinian statehood through the UN. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emphasized the importance of Israel’s victory over Hamas as a prerequisite for further regional peace agreements. He dismissed the relevance of the Saudi statement and insisted on the necessity of defeating Hamas to expand the circle of peace with other regional countries. Netanyahu stressed that public statements are secondary to private negotiations in achieving this goal.