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Compromise Signals Belief in Victory of Sorts

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These latest relatively modest Palestinian demands offer another sign that the West Bank leadership is willing to co-operate with White House efforts to broker a landmark Middle East deal.

The Palestinian requests don’t come close to the maximalist ­demands often made in public ­forums, where leaders hold firm to longstanding demands that Israel end its occupation and allow for the creation of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The discussions between ­Riyadh and Ramallah are likely to evolve as the multifaceted negotiations gain momentum. Palestinian leaders could seek more significant concessions from ­Israel in the coming months, and the Biden administration has made it clear that it wants any deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia to advance efforts to create a ­Palestinian state.

Saudi Arabia’s leaders also publicly say that they won’t establish diplomatic relations with ­Israel until they meet that threshold. But the kingdom isn’t expected to hold firm to those demands, which are widely seen as unrealistic under the current conditions.

The requests suggest that the Palestinian leadership is willing to compromise and understand that they will get little to advance their interests if they refuse to work with the US and Saudi Arabia ­during the talks, political analysts said.

“It’s a positive sign that their leadership is becoming more pragmatic in its approach, as they can use the prospect of diplomatic normalisation between Israel and Saudi Arabia to bring tangible benefits to their people,” said William Wechsler, senior director of the Rafiq Hariri Centrw and Middle East Programs at the Atlantic Council in Washington.

Earlier this month, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi that he would be willing to accept the Saudi normalisation deal with Israel as long as the Palestinian demands are met and stated in the deal, according to officials familiar with the meeting.

But securing any agreement to cede control of even small parts of the West Bank from the current Israeli government remains in doubt. Key members of the right-wing Israeli coalition oppose any deal that would relinquish Israeli control over West Bank land to the Palestinian Authority.

“We won’t make any concessions to the Palestinians, it’s a ­fiction,” Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said in an ­interview earlier this week on Army Radio.

Article link:
Article source: The Australian / Wall Steet Journal | Dion Nissenbaum & Summer Said | 2.9.23

2024-05-08 07:04:10.000000

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