Incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly considering the suspension of his pledge to annex the West Bank in exchange for a historic peace deal with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth news reported that Israel, the Saudi Kingdom and the United States are already engaged in talks toward a peace deal.
If such an agreement materializes, it could be the fifth one between the Jewish state and an Arab gulf nation under the umbrella of the Abraham Accords. U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides recently told ALL ISRAEL NEWS Editor-in-Chief Joel C. Rosenberg that the Biden administration will “work tirelessly with the Israelis and the Saudis.”
The recent report noted that far-right parties will not stand in Netanyahu’s way to sign a similar deal with the Saudis.
However, Netanyahu’s pledge to declare sovereignty over parts of the West Bank is included in his agreement with coalition partners from the Religious Zionism party, according to the report.
The annexation of the area – referred to as Judea and Samaria – was also put on hold when Israel signed normalization agreements with the UAE and Bahrain in 2020.
During his election campaign and prior to U.S. President Joe Biden’s visit to the region last summer, Netanyahu vowed to forge peace with the Saudi Kingdom if elected again as prime minister.
“If I return to lead the State of Israel on your behalf, I intend to bring about full peace agreements with Saudi Arabia and also with other Arab countries,” Netanyahu said in a televised statement at the time.
In his first-ever interview with a Saudi newspaper earlier this month, Netanyahu said he believes that peace with Saudi Arabia will serve two purposes.
“It will be a quantum leap for an overall peace between Israel and the Arab world, it will change our region in ways that are unimaginable,” he told Al Arabiya’s English-language daily, “and I think it will facilitate, ultimately, a Palestinian-Israeli peace. I believe in that. I intend to pursue it.”
Last year, Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir said that a peace deal with Israel was contingent upon its resolution of the conflict with the Palestinians.
Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.