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Israel's security brass advocates Saudi deal as way to calm tensions with Palestinians

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears trapped between security establishment advice to proceed with a Saudi deal plus concessions to the Palestinians and allied hardliners' rejection of any compromise with Ramallah.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah on April 19, 2023. SPA

TEL AVIV — While a path of escalating Palestinian attacks and tensions threatens to deteriorate into further violence with Israel, a path of Saudi-Israeli rapprochement appears to be emerging that could herald a historic Middle Eastern peace. 

The major issues are whether the promise of the Saudi track can be leveraged to benefit the Palestinians and Israelis and whether either option is feasible given the political chokehold curbing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s freedom to act.

US national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on Thursday that a “broad understanding of many of the key elements" had been reached in negotiations with Saudi Arabia on a normalization deal with Israel, but he cautioned, “We don't have the terms ready to be signed. There is still work to do."

Netanyahu on side of security establishment

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