Friedman in NYT: Saudi normalization requires path to Palestinian statehood, IDF leaving Gaza, settlement freeze

A US-Saudi deal said to be close to completion would require a pathway to the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, along with a full Israeli withdrawal from the Strip and a freeze on settlement construction, according to an op-ed by Thomas Friedman published in the New York Times.

Friedman writes that the deal includes the normalization of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel, according to certain conditions.

“That will happen only if Israel agrees to Riyadh’s terms: get out of Gaza, freeze the building of settlements in the West Bank and embark on a three- to five-year “pathway” to establish a Palestinian state in the occupied territories,” he writes.

Friedman adds that the establishment of a Palestinian state “would also be conditioned on the Palestinian Authority undertaking reforms to make it a governing body that Palestinians trust and see as legitimate and Israelis see as effective.”

The op-ed notes that the current Israeli government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would be unlikely to agree to such conditions, and as such the deal maybe finalized “with the stated proviso that Saudi Arabia will normalize relations with Israel the minute Israel has a government ready to meet the Saudi-US terms.”

The deal would also provide Saudi Arabia with security assurances from Washington while moving it away from US rivals.

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