Multiple Motives for Normalization
The reasons for Saudi-Israeli normalization efforts are varied. Saudi Arabia has its own set of reasons, including the desire to have a nuclear program and military technological superiority over any Middle Eastern power, including Israel. Furthermore, normalization advances the American goal of integrating Israel into the Middle East, ensuring its sovereignty, and reducing regional tensions. Furthermore, the US administration is using the issue as part of the 2024 presidential election campaign, which will strengthen its position in the face of Republican criticism.
For Israel, its integration into the region and the disregard for Palestinian rights and demands are among its primary benefits. Normalization aligns with Netanyahu's vision of the nature of relations with the surrounding countries, emphasizing cooperative approaches that distance themselves from the Palestinians and their rights.
Saudi Arabia Differs from Those Preceded it in Normalization
Normalization with Saudi Arabia is distinct and multifaceted from previous attempts. The most significant aspects of this difference concern the content and form of demands, which clash with the specifics of Saudi Arabia's demands, particularly those concerning Israel's dominance and the Palestinian issue.
Saudi Arabia has examples and precedents of Arab normalization to study, but these did not achieve the desired results. Because of their actions, they received positions and criticism from both official and Palestinian political factions. As a result, Saudi Arabia must distinguish itself from those who came before it by emphasizing the preconditions for normalization and securing the approval of non-official Palestinian figures to cover its normalization steps in public.
Palestinian Demands to Grant Saudi Arabia Approval for Normalizing Its Relations
According to various sources, two models of Palestinian demands were conveyed to Saudi Arabia by Palestinian Authority representatives in order to provide Saudi Arabia with Palestinian cover for its normalization step. These demands are divided into idealistic and realistic demands, which revolve around Saudi Arabia obtaining an Israeli decision that guarantees on-the-ground outcomes leading to a two-state solution later on.
Complex Saudi Demands Dim Hopes for Progress
In general, current and former officials and experts have raised an American-Israeli perception. This perception is based on facts and assures that there are intricate Saudi demands and specifics, leading us to lose hope in a future Israeli-Saudi agreement.
It is unthinkable that anyone within Israel would give Saudi Arabia a military and nuclear file, allowing it to outperform Israel. As a result, Israel loses supremacy, one of the most important principles of Israeli national security..
This is a complicating factor in gaining approval from Israeli security and military authorities for Saudi demands.
The situation might become more complex when considering that Israel, under the rule of bin Salman today, may expect its position to change toward Israel. Alternatively, if a hostile ruler comes to power, they could potentially use these advanced capabilities against Israel.
Unacceptable Palestinian Demands from the Extreme Israeli Government
Given the Palestinian demands, it is difficult to believe that Netanyahu, known for his opposition to Oslo and the existence of the Palestinian Authority, and who has been resistant to Palestinian rights, would agree to them, especially given his current position within an extremist government. These demands contradict his vision for Palestinians and his stance on normalization, which has historically proceeded without regard for Palestinian demands..
The Price Demanded by PA Represents Its Hope to Revive the Political Project
The Palestinian Authority, led by President Abbas, sees Saudi Arabia's normalization step as an opportunity to save its faltering political project, whether it occurs in accordance with any of the demands - idealistic or realistic. After years of closure and isolation, it provides them with a political horizon.
Because the Palestinian Authority has grown accustomed to working and persevering -even if it has been exhausting- without Saudi assistance for years, it will hold onto this opportunity and will not provide Saudi Arabia with a free cover for normalization, nor will it offer any cosmetic exit that it desires. Abbas will insist on his demands, and even if Saudi Arabia proceeds with normalization, the stubborn Abbas will not grant them the cover.
This stance will be supported by the content of his demands, which do not contradict the US, Western, or regional visions for a solution. These demands were previously presented to the US and approved before being transferred to Saudi Arabia.
In conclusion, Abbas's refusal to provide free endorsement for Saudi Arabia's moves toward normalization with Israel will put him in a difficult position. Consequently, Saudi Arabia will not proceed with normalization if it risks losing part of its Islamic status, and its leadership in the Arab and Islamic world will be compromised.
This stance will be supported by the content of his demands, which do not contradict the United States, Western, or regional visions for a solution. These demands were previously presented to the US and approved by it before being transferred to Saudi Arabia.