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Biden’s hopes for establishing Israel-Saudi relations could become a casualty

Less than three weeks ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sat beside President Joe Biden and marveled that a “historic peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia” seemed within reach — a diplomatic advance that he predicted could lead to lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Biden was equally optimistic, telling Netanyahu during their meeting in New York, “If you and I — 10 years ago — were talking about normalization with Saudi Arabia, I think we’d look at each other like, ‘Who’s been drinking what?’”

Now, the outbreak of war between Israel and the Palestinians after a devastating Hamas attack on Israeli soil is threatening to delay or derail the years-long, country-by-country diplomatic push by the United States to improve relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

The so-called normalization push, which began under former President Donald Trump’s administration and was branded as the Abraham Accords, is an ambitious effort to reshape the region and boost Israel’s standing in historic ways.

But critics have warned that it skips past Palestinian demands for statehood.

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