Dry Bones - Bibi considers the new Saudi Plan
Dry Bones - Bibi considers the new Saudi PlanY. Kirschen

Israel’s Leader of the Opposition Benjamin Netanyahu has broken his silence - giving his nod of approval to examining the Saudi-proposed Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine solution (Saudi Solution) :

“I think the big prize is peace with Saudi Arabia, which I intend to achieve if I go back into office… The rise of Israeli power facilitated the Abraham Accords, and the continual nurturing of Israeli power will also nurture a broader peace with Saudi Arabia and nearly all of the rest of the Arab world. I intend to bring the Arab-Israeli conflict to a close.”

Peace with Saudi Arabia and ending the Arab-Israeli conflict will require Netanyahu to successfully negotiate to make the Saudi Solution - published in June - acceptable. That would see:

· Jordan, Gaza and part of Judea and Samaria ('West Bank') being merged into one territorial entity to be called The Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine - with its capital in Amman - not Jerusalem

· Abandonment of the 74 years-old Palestinian Arab demand to return and live in Israel

· Recognition of Jewish sovereignty in part of Judea and Samaria ('West Bank') for the first time in 3000 years

· No new Palestinian Arab state between Israel and Jordan

Yesh Atid Party Leader - Yair Lapid, Blue and White Party Leader - Benny Gantz - and Labor Party Leader - Merav Michaeli - have all rejected the Saudi Solution outright - aligning their respective parties policies with President Biden’s to continue pursuing the failed unachievable two-state solution first dreamt up by the European Union in 1980 and endorsed by the United Nations in 2003.

The leaders of all other Israeli political parties have yet to comment on the Saudi Solution.

Netanyahu, however, indicated his thinking was clearly in sync with the game-changing proposals.

On the touchy question of Israeli sovereignty in part only of Judea and Samaria ('West Bank') – Netanyahu said:

The reality is that a third, which includes biblical sites, strategic sites, and Jewish suburbs of our major cities, they’re going to stay in Israel no matter what. We’d like more—possibly everything—but that’s not the point. The point is everybody recognized this part will stay, so why not recognize it the way Trump recognized Jerusalem as our capital? And it’s been that way for 3,000 years since King David; so why not recognize this reality too?”

On the sensitive issue of Jerusalem remaining solely the capital of Israel – Netanyahu declared:

“As long as [the Palestinian Arabs] cling to the unrealistic assumption that we’re going to dismantle half of Jerusalem and dismantle these suburbs, you ain’t gonna get peace. You’re going to get nothing. You cannot build peace in the Middle East on fantasy. Any peace built on lies and fantasy will founder on the rocks of Middle Eastern realities.

It’s about time to recognize what is going to be. What is [currently] there, and what is going to be.”

The new Saudi Solution maintains the current reality of Jerusalem remaining the capital of Israel only. Possibly Hamas and the PLO realize that – as their four-months self-imposed silence in failing to oppose or reject the new Saudi Solution may restify.

The main remaining issue to be negotiated is security control over the newly merged entity – where Netanyahu told Ben Shapiro in an earlier interview:

“...West of the Jordan River ... Israel and Israel alone controls security. We control the airspace, we control the ground security, underground security in case they want to do tunnels... We’re not going to commit suicide for a favourable op-ed in theNew York Times”

If Netanyahu becomes Israel’s next Prime Minister – the end of the 100 years old Arab-Israeli conflict and peace with Saudi Arabia could well be realised.

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.