US said to be floating Saudi-backed 2002 Arab Peace Initiative in talks with Israel

The US is said to be floating the Arab Peace Initiative that Saudi Arabia sponsored more than 20 years ago as a possible framework to end the war against Hamas in Gaza, according to an unsourced Channel 12 report.

The 2002 initiative offers Israel normalized ties with the entire Arab world once it reaches a two-state solution to its conflict with the Palestinians. Riyadh had set that agreement aside as it pursued separate normalization talks with Israel, brokered by the US, before Hamas’s October 7 attacks. Riyadh was widely thought to be readying for the possibility of normalizing relations with Israel without first securing the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Channel 12 says the Biden administration is now bringing up the initiative with Israel, arguing that such an agreement would be in the interest of the US, Israel, and regional countries.

Blinken is currently in Israel on his third leg of a Mideast tour aimed at heading off a wider conflagration in the region as fighting with Hezbollah on Israel’s northern border intensifies.

Channel 12 says in its unsourced report that Blinken has conveyed to the Israelis that the images and footage of the war in Gaza are leading to “radicalization” in Mideast countries, and is pushing Israel for talks on a diplomatic agreement in the north, for more humanitarian aid to Gaza, and for a “diplomatic horizon” for the Palestinian Authority.

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