A recent step toward normalization with Saudi Arabia was the country’s decision to send a representative to Jerusalem, with the intent of thus recognizing the Palestinians’ claim for it as their capital. If this would be a genuine sign of progress toward a situation where Palestinians’ right to self-determination is honestly recognized, I’d be jumping up and down displaying my jolly mood, but unfortunately, there’s no real cause for me to act this way.
One of Netanyahu’s main goals in this term, aside from ruining Israel’s judiciary, was normalizing relations with Saudi Arabia. After several other Arab nations said “Alright, we’ll deal with it” to Israel’s existence over the last couple of years, it seems like Saudi Arabia is also making some progress in that direction.
However, a significant and obvious problem standing in the way of said progress is none other than Mr. Prime Minister himself. On the way to scrambling for recognition from Arab countries, Bibi happened to get tangled into a group of people who are generally not huge fans of Arab people. Maybe our head of government didn’t succeed in thinking so far ahead as to realize that leading a coalition of Jewish supremacists, religious fanatics, and racists won’t be seen as appealing in the Saudi Crown Prince’s eyes, but that is what’s happening right now.
I’m slightly surprised that Mohammed bin Salman doesn’t see that much eye-to-eye with Bibi’s allies, seeing that their ideologies have quite a lot in common. Let’s take Ben-Gvir and/or Smotrich, for example. One would think that if there’s a world leader who can sympathize with them and their beliefs it would be MBS, but apparently, that is not the case.
This latest news about normalization includes the Saudis sending an envoy to the Palestinians, however, anyone seriously concerned with their well-being, it’s important to note that there is not yet light at the end of the tunnel. I’d be the happiest man on Earth if the Saudis really cared about the fate of Palestinians, but unluckily, normalization with Israel and mostly disregarding Palestinian lives is far more beneficial to MBS and his state politically, economically, and militarily than supporting a supportless people.
Riyadh wants US-sanctioned nuclear weapons and the protection of NATO. Washington and West Jerusalem want Riyadh as a peaceful partner. For that, Bibi has to do something that, for him, is the swallowing of a bitter pill. The aforementioned consul for the Palestinians.
At this point, I am not even remotely surprised about the ease with which Netanyahu bends whatever way he needs to, but still, it’s unpleasant seeing he’s not only evil but also a spineless coward.
So, for normalization, the Prime Minister has to make his much more ideologically stiff partners swallow the same pill he did unless he wants an absolute void of nothing instead of achievements for his time in office. This will be much harder for the Religious Zionism and Jewish Power parties than it was for him, as they are more…Let’s say inexperienced at making political compromises. So, once again, Bibi is abandoning his so-called ideals to make a deal. No surprise there.
However, for a normalization deal to truly be a compromise between the two nations of Israel and Saudi Arabia, much more would be expected by Palestine, real, tangible progress. For that to happen, demands from Saudi Arabia to Israel that’d make Palestinians’ political rights such as self-determination a reality would be of utmost importance.