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Blinken: US warned Israel that West Bank tensions could undermine Saudi normalization

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said it would be tough, if not impossible, to deepen and expand the Abraham Accords if the violence continues in the West Bank.
West Bank violence

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Wednesday that tensions in the West Bank could undermine efforts to normalize ties between Israel and Arab states, including Saudi Arabia. 

Speaking at an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations on Wednesday, Blinken described normalization between the two countries as a “real prospect” but “not something that can happen overnight.” 

Saudi-Israel normalization would represent a major foreign policy achievement for the Biden administration as it seeks to expand its predecessor’s Abraham Accords. The two countries, who share a common enemy in Iran, have a clandestine security relationship dating back to the 1960s. 

But Saudi Arabia and other regional holdouts have said they need to see progress on a two-state solution before establishing ties with Israel. That looks unlikely under Israel’s most right-wing government in its history, members of which have advocated for a major expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and changing the status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites. 

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