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Israel-Saudi normalization falls casualty of Hamas attack

The US-brokered talks were making progress; that’s probably why Iran gave Hamas the green light.
People standing on a rooftop watch as a ball of fire and smoke rises above a building in Gaza City on October 7, 2023 during an Israeli air strike that hit the Palestine Tower building. At least 70 people were reported killed in Israel, while Gaza authorities released a death toll of 198 in the bloodiest escalation in the wider conflict since May 2021, with hundreds more wounded on both sides. (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS / AFP) (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images)

This column was supposed to be about the momentum and promise of the US-brokered Saudi-Israel peace initiative, including how the kingdom went big by making Israeli-Palestinian peace part of the deal. 

The consequences of an Israel-Saudi peace deal, led by the United States and providing new hope for a comatose Israeli-Palestinian peace process, were potentially game-changing for the region.

And that’s why Iran, it seems, looked to upend the process. 

The attack from Hamas, a key partner in Iran’s "resistance axis" (which also includes Syria, Hezbollah and various Iraqi factions), was stunning in its execution. The operation from Gaza included not just 3,000 rockets, but an actual invasion into southern Israeli cities. An Israeli death toll of around 300 (as we went to press) and dozens of hostages are unprecedented.

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