Report: Palestinian Delegation to Discuss Israel-Saudi Deal With U.S. Officials

Brett McGurk. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

A significant development is underway as a Palestinian delegation is set to arrive in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to engage in discussions with Brett McGurk, a senior official at the U.S. National Security Council. The focus of this meeting will be on the normalization process between Israel and Saudi Arabia, with a specific emphasis on the terms and conditions that would benefit the Palestinian people within this framework.

This event marks a historic occasion, as it is the first time an American delegation is meeting with a Palestinian delegation on Saudi soil to delve into the intricacies of normalization.

An unnamed Palestinian official shared insights with the U.K.-based news outlet Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, stating, “The Palestinian leadership believes that Saudi Arabia will not proceed with normalization without obtaining a satisfactory political price that strengthens its position and is supported by the Palestinians.”

The core of the Palestinian position to be presented to the Saudi leadership revolves around the implementation of the Arab Peace Initiative. This initiative entails an Israeli withdrawal from territories liberated after the Six Day War in 1967, in exchange for Arab recognition of Israel. Additionally, the Palestinians are advocating for full U.N. membership.

The demands put forth by the Palestinian delegation also include the reopening of the American Consulate in East Yerushalayim and the re-establishment of Fatah offices in the U.S. These demands were promised to the Palestinian leadership by the Biden administration two years ago but have yet to be fulfilled.

The Palestinian delegation is also echoing confidence-building measures that were previously presented to the Biden administration to renew relations with the Israeli government. These measures include halting the development of Jewish communities, ceasing de facto annexation of Palestinian territory, stopping Palestinian home demolitions, ending incursions into Palestinian territory in Area A, and ensuring the status quo at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Yerushalayim remains unchanged.

The head of the Palestinian delegation will be Hussein al-Sheikh, the secretary-general of Fatah’s Executive Committee, and it will include key figures such as Majed Faraj, head of the Palestinian Intelligence Service, and Majdi Khaldi, diplomatic affairs adviser to President Mahmoud Abbas.

In a prior meeting, this delegation engaged with Saudi Ambassador Nayef bin Bandar Al Sudairi in Jordan, indicating the importance of these discussions.

Notably, The Wall Street Journal reported that Saudi officials and senior Palestinians have indicated that Saudi Arabia is considering renewing financial support for the Palestinian Authority, marking a significant effort to overcome obstacles to establishing diplomatic relations with Israel. Saudi officials are seeking Abbas’s support for establishing these relations to bolster the legitimacy of any agreement and prevent accusations that Saudi Arabia is advancing Israeli interests.

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