Ted Belman
Ted Belmancourtesy
At the recent Arab summit in Saudi Arabia, MBS, al Sisi and King Abdullah all called for, “the establishment of a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital”.

Of the participants, the only one with any clout is MBS. He has put all Saudi Arabia’s demands on the table before serious negotiations commence. Are they all prerequisites or will some be dropped before the final deal?

It doesn’t look good for Israel because the "Palestine" demand is also in line with the declared policy of the Obama/Biden government.

In the past, it was reported :

Kushner: Netanyahu axed annexation in exchange for triple normalization.. 31 Jul 2022

Netanyahu would reportedly suspend plans for annexing the West Bank in exchange for a Saudi deal as well. Dec 22, 2022.

Incoming prime minister’s right-wing bloc reportedly would not stand in the way of his efforts to normalize relations with Riyadh. Dec 25, 2022.

So what will Netanyahu do this time around? Will he choose normalization over annexation again?

Fortunately, this is not the whole story.

On Jan 4, 2023, John Hannah of JINSA reported on their meeting with Mohammed ben Salman, the Crown Price of Saudi Arabia, who advised them of the four demands for normalization and commented on them:

“The obvious follow-up question we asked: Isn’t progress on the Palestinian Arab issue a prerequisite for normalization? The answer we got was an unequivocal “no,” followed by a vivid description of a Palestinian Arab leadership incapable of making peace with Israel for fear of being killed by its own people.

“The Saudis will continue to press for a solution, but the Palestinian track is now separate from the normalization track. The latter will no longer be held hostage to the former, provided the Saudis can get what they need from the United States.

“Upon our return to Washington, I confirmed that what JINSA heard on normalization was consistent with the message that the Saudis had directly communicated to the White House.”

In Joseph Puder’s Belated U.S. Efforts to Negotiate Israeli-Saudi Peace he reported:

“It seems now that the Biden administration has recognized, perhaps belatedly, that the Iran-Saudi rapprochement has the potential of not only removing the US as an influencer in the Middle East region, but the Chinese might somehow replace the US dollar with the Chinese Yuan as the international currency. Already, with mega deals between China and Saudi Arabia, as well as Chinese huge deals with Iran, and potentially more deals with the remaining Arab Gulf states, US influence and prestige is bound to be eviscerated.”

I begged to differ and wrote:

“In my opinion, the US isn’t so much interested in helping Israel normalize with Saudi Arabia as they are in normalizing with SA themselves. They don’t want to cede the Middle East to China and they don’t want to cede Israel and SA to China. They are not going to focus their efforts elsewhere as they have been suggesting. They are going to hold on to the ME, SA and Israel for dear life.”

On May 17, 2023, Walter Russel Mead wrote in the WSJ, The Citizens of this Extraordinary State have every Reason to look Forward with Hope

I took issue with him and wrote:

“This is a good article except he makes it sound like Israel is only a dependent of the US. He totally ignores the benefits the US gets from partnering on innovation particularly, military innovation.

“A corollary to this is that the US certainly doesn’t want Israel partnering with China. Furthermore if China dominates the ME, it will dominate Africa.”

Mordechai Ben Menachem in his article Is Israel dependent on the US or is the US dependent on Israel? amplified my thoughts.

“I disagree with Walter Russell Mead’s arguments.

“But the most important question facing Israelis today is the future of their relationship with the U.S. There is nothing written in the stars that guarantees its permanence. For the first 25 years of Israel’s independence, American presidents were more interested in cultivating Arab leaders and blocking the Israeli nuclear program than in aligning with Jerusalem. Only after Richard Nixon concluded that an Israeli defeat in the 1973 Yom Kippur War would empower the Soviet Union across the Middle East did Washington move toward a strategic relationship.”

“Despite American continued delusions with their own central importance to everything and everyone, our relations with the United States, while important, are far, quite far, from the most important issue facing the country, nor is it the issue most discussed. Many Israelis, including this author, question whether the United States, in its present form, will survive this decade. American seem incapable of comprehending anything longer term than a year. We think in terms of Millenia.

"Sorry America, you are important, but you are not, and never have been, the sole focus of the world. Nixon helped us in 1973 with ammunition, and we are very grateful to him and to America for it. America has now unilaterally rescinded that agreement for strategic ammunition storage here. Guess what? We will manage; really!

“Today, though, many Americans, especially progressive Democrats, believe that U.S. interests in the face of climate change require a rapid global shift from fossil fuel. Many others, especially among Trump-friendly Republicans, question whether the U.S. should remain globally engaged. The future of the U.S.-Israel relationship depends on how these two debates are resolved.

“American ME relationships in general, and with Israel much more so, have almost nothing to do with supply of oil to America. It does have somewhat to do with the supply of energy to American allies in Europe. Except that America, under Biden, rejects all its allies, including Europe, and everyone outside of the US knows this. In reality, Israel is America’s LAST ALLY. America NEEDS Israel today much more than Israel needs America. I know, that is a shocking statement. Practically speaking, every American tech company does primary R&D in Israel. Even Ford, whose founder was Hitler’s primary funder, now does R&D here. How is that for irony? Intel Israel is larger than Intel USA; and the list is large.

“Today’s US military, which appears to most of the world as impotent and incompetent, is wholly dependent upon Israel for large portions of its critical intelligence sources, and NOT just in the ME. BTW, that was true during the Cold War, as well.

“How much does the Middle East matter if the world is moving away from fossil fuel? “

“This question displays the basic geo-strategic ignorance with which the US suffers. The need for the ME is totally independent from oil. The ME is, as it always has been, at the center of the World Island and is its fulcrum. The examples given in the article are all trivia.

” if isolationist perspectives among Democratic progressives or Republican populists dominate the agenda, U.S.-Israel relations likely will cool.

“Again, if the US, or its parts, remains, in any way, engaged in the world, in trade or in geo-strategic interests, Israel is critical for the US; in intelligence, in technology, in innovation and in economics. As one example (of hundreds), Israel is FAR ahead of the US in Artificial Intelligence. Every US company active in tis area, is doing its primary work in Israel. Any American ‘analyst’ who does not take this aspect in consideration, is either ignorant of facts or …

“In any case, Israel today is orders of magnitude stronger, wealthier and more influential than it was in 1948. History offers no guarantees and problems remain, but the citizens of this extraordinary state have every reason to look forward with hope.”

“Israel today has a higher birth rate, higher female fertility, higher GDP per capita, higher life expectancy than the United States. Israel has [proportionally] fewer murders, with all the issues with our neighbors, in a year than Chicago in a weekend. Our Social stability is far safer. Our banking stability is far safer. Our population, despite the issues we have at the moment with our ‘fascinating’ politics’, is far more cohesive than the USA.

“In other words, by EVERY ‘objective’ measurement, Israel is far more assured of a future than America. By non-objective measurement, we also believe, and this includes the secular population as well, in our promised future.

“That is also more than America can say.

“Sorry to tell you America, but it really is time to grow up or to grow down.”