Arab states working on Gaza cease-fire deal in return for Palestinian state, report says

A report published by the Financial Times says agreement would involve normalization with Saudi Arabia and include 'irreversible' steps toward the creation of a Palestinian state

Several Arab states are reportedly working on an initiative to secure a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip and the release of Israeli hostages as part of a broader plan that might include normalization with Saudi Arabia should Israel agree to "irreversible" steps toward establishing an independent Palestinian state.
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The initiative was reported by the UK-based news outlet Financial Times. A senior Arab official told the outlet that the states hope to present the plan within a few weeks in an effort to end the war between Israel and Hamas and prevent a broader conflict in the Middle East.
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בנימין נתניהו מוחמד בן סלמאן
בנימין נתניהו מוחמד בן סלמאן
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
(Photo: Jim WATSON / AFP, Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS)
According to the report, Arab officials have discussed the plan with the United States and European countries. The plan also reportedly includes an element of formal recognition of a Palestinian state or full support for Palestinian membership in the United Nations. "The real issue is you need hope for Palestinians, it can’t just be economic benefits or removal of symbols of occupation," the senior official said.
The initiative comes amid growing international pressure on Israel to end its military operation in Gaza, while the United States is intensifying diplomatic efforts to prevent a wider escalation and pushing for a long-term and sustainable solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
"Given the Israeli body politic today, normalization is maybe what can bring Israelis off the cliff," the senior Arab official added.
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אבו מאזן פגישה עם מזכיר המדינה של ארה"ב ב רמאללה
אבו מאזן פגישה עם מזכיר המדינה של ארה"ב ב רמאללה
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
Officials in Washington and Riyadh are reportedly discussing the Palestinian part of the deal, which is expected to include a freeze on Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, increased aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA), and the creation of a roadmap toward a two-state solution.
The report suggested that Saudi Arabia understands it will need to acquire significant concessions from Israel, particularly regarding the Palestinians, including in Gaza, and that the Israeli government will be expected to take more concrete steps toward the establishment of a Palestinian state.
"We had already got an outline from the PA," a source involved in the details of the initiative said. “Now that element has to be strengthened for it to be politically viable at any point in the future.”
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