Dry Bones - secret talks
Dry Bones - secret talksY. Kirschen

The bombshell revelation, if true, that senior aides of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas have been holding secret talks for almost two months further implies the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) acceptance of the Saudi-based Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine solution (Saudi Solution) as the basis for negotiating an end to 100 years of conflict between Arabs and Jews.

Such talks suggest the PLO has seemingly returned to its 1964 founding-Charter’s roots by no longer claiming sovereignty in Judea and Samaria ('West Bank') – a position the PLO only reversed in 1968 after Jordan’s loss of that territory to Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.

The Saudi Solution is breathtaking in the outcomes it promises - if implemented:

Jordan, Gaza and part of Judea and Samaria ('West Bank') will be merged into one territorial entity governed by the current Hashemite rulers of Jordan – with its capital being located in Amman – not Jerusalem

The total shredding of the failed two-state solution adopted by the United Nations since the passage of Security Council Resolution 2334 on 23 December 2016

  • The end of the 2002 Saudi Arabian proposal announced by Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz and subsequently adopted as the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative - calling for full Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied since June 1967 and Israel's acceptance of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital - in return for the establishment of normal relations in the context of a comprehensive peace with Israel
  • Recognition of Israeli sovereignty in part of Judea and Samaria ('West Bank') for the first time, its extent to be netotiated

Since its publication on 8 June 2022 in the Saudi Government-controlled Al Arabiya News – the Saudi Solution - authored by Ali Shihabi - a confidant of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman – has not been rated newsworthy or significant enough to be mentioned by:

  • the international media,
  • only two other political analysts - one of them after my urging
  • any international think tanks and
  • the United Nations

Amazingly – Jordan’s King Abdullah, Hamas’s Ismail Haniyeh, PLO Leader Mahmoud Abbas and Saudi Crown Prince – now Prime Minister - Mohammed Bin Salman - have not rejected the Saudi Solution in the last nine months - even though it clearly departs from the policies each of them has been espousing for decades.

These secret back-channel talks, if they are dealing with the solution above, appear to have been deliberately leaked at this particular point of time for one reason: The threat posed to Netanyahu and Abbas concluding successful negotiations on implementing the Saudi Solution caused by Israel’s High Court of Justice demanding the Israeli Government produce a plan by April 2 for the demolition and evacuation of Khan al-Ahmar - an illegal Bedouin herding encampment in Area C of Judea and Samaria ('West Bank') presently under Israel’s full security and administrative control.

Netanyahu needs to persuade the Court to extend its 2 April deadline to free himself from the negotiating straightjacket into which the Court has placed him.

The Saudi Solution remains on track … the media and the UN remain dumbstruck

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Author’s note: The cartoon — commissioned exclusively for this article — is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators — whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades