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NBC Reports That Blinken's Saudi Deal Fell on Netanyahu's Deaf Ears

NBC News, citing three unnamed senior officials, said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected a proposal from U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken that would have seen Saudi Arabia normalize relations with Israel in exchange for Israel to agree to provide the Palestinians with a pathway toward statehood. He reportedly told Blinken last week that he wasn’t prepared to make a deal that allows for a Palestinian state.

Blinken had come to Netanyahu with the proposal after having received commitments from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and four other Arab leaders to help fund the reconstruction of Gaza after the war and support the return of a “reformed Palestinian Authority” to the Gaza Strip. However, NBC reported that the only request to which Netanyahu agreed was for Israel not to launch a major attack against Hezbollah in Lebanon. U.S. officials who spoke with the Times of Israel (TOI) confirmed that agreement.

TOI cited two U.S. officials reporting that MBS (as the Crown Prince is known) had also told Blinken that he was prepared to normalize relations with Israel as part of rebuilding the Gaza Strip after the Israel-Hamas war, but only on condition that Israeli actually steps toward Palestinian sovereignty.

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