A Saudi-Palestinian Deal That Could Benefit Israel?

Saudi Arabia has proposed resuming financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority (PA), which may provide a path to normalization with Israel. The Wall Street Journal reports, “Saudi officials say they are trying to secure Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s support for open ties with Israel, providing more legitimacy to any eventual agreement and forestalling any accusations that the kingdom would sacrifice Palestinian efforts to establish an independent state to advance its own goals.”

Ironically, Saudi Arabia, the home of Islam’s holiest sites, seems to be laying the groundwork for peace with Israel by providing money to Israel’s enemy. Riyadh’s move shows good faith to the Palestinians, whose statehood Muslim nations prioritize, possibly allowing the kingdom to move toward diplomatic relations with Israel without jeopardizing its standing within the Muslim-majority Middle East.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hopes Saudi Arabia will join the Abraham Accords, which he described as a potential “quantum leap,” as the kingdom’s position in the Middle East could advance further normalization for Israel. 

In recent years, Saudi Arabia cut funding to the PA due to Palestinian corruption, as they gave the PA $174 million in 2019 and nothing since 2021. The struggling PA can hardly afford to turn down funding. Assuming they accept the money, Saudi Arabia will have a path to normalization with the Jewish state, a theoretical coup for Israel. Palestinian leaders must then decide whether to accept a deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia or retaliate. In the interest of fairness and prosperity, they would be wise to take the peaceful route.