The minimum you must know

Saudi Arabia and Israel were on the verge of an extraordinary peace agreement that has been delayed because of recent events inside Israel. This writer hopes the peace process will quickly be restarted, and that the governments are going to become great friends by significantly improving relations between the populations. There’s every reason for Jewish - Muslim peace. And there’s phenomenal leadership for peace. Everyone involved deserves tremendous credit for their courage for peace.

Saudi Arabia wants a Palestinian state to become formed as part of the normalization in Saudi-Israeli relations. This should be easily achieved when calm returns to the holy land. The Israeli and Palestinian governments both want a Palestinian state to form because a “two-state solution” to peace preserves both governments in their present form. (Hamas and Fatah have been alternating Palestinian governments at peace with each other. Nomenclature doesn’t have to matter in resolving matters. Can they reach agreement to be in the future? Both political parties needs must be met to finally resolve the matter. Perhaps that can be how.)

Traditionally the two state solution has been agreeable to both Israel and Palestine without negotiation. In fact, both governments have always vehemently insisted that’s the only path to peace right now. A one state solution might produce a voting demographic unsupportive of any of the existing governments. And the Israeli and Palestinian governments also have a shared interest in where two state solution borders become drawn for the same reason, because they both want to preserve their demographics. (No government seeks to add an unsupportive group.) Obviously there’s going to be some negotiation over integrated areas. But the self-interests of both the Palestinian and Israeli governments are aligned in that process.

In places with integrated populations, the Israeli and Palestinian governments have an even more profound shared interest in declaring peace with one another. Integrated populations follow examples set by their government institutions and heads of state. They work well together when governments are publicly at peace with each other, and against one another -and consequently the greater good- when they aren’t. So simply declaring “peace” and setting a peaceful and even generous example may lead entire integrated populations to behave far better towards one another, so that the entire group can advance much faster. There is an incredibly important shared interest in peace between Israelis and Palestinians as a result. So there’s every reason for Saudi Arabia’s leadership on peace to become very successful for Israel and Palestine.

That’s why Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan led a distinguished Saudi delegation to an urgent meeting of the Arab League (of countries) that was convened at the request of Palestine. There the undersecretary called for an immediate resumption of the peace process. The Arab League said they seek to provide international protection for the Palestinian people, and achieve peace and security based on international law, international legitimacy resolutions, and the Arab Peace Initiative.

There is U.S. political support for peace - once calm returns to the region. Republicans such as Governor Ron Desantis are calling on the United States to support alliances without any U.S. military involvement whatsoever. He said very directly about Gaza that, “I don’t think it’s our war,” and wrote about Ukraine that he fully supports the government being at peace with Russia. “While the U.S. has many vital national interests,” he said, “becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them.” Most leading republicans agree with him. And democrats such as Congresswoman Ilhan Omar have given impassioned speeches for peace between Israel and Palestine. President Biden patterned peace in the following remarks as well.

President of the 
United States of America
Joe Biden

October 20, 2023

Saudi Arabia is a very close alliance for the United States with a benevolent kingdom that has done a tremendous amount for their own people. The government is loved by many in Saudi Arabia for providing for their citizens, and for encouraging the population to advance with respect to women’s and minority rights. They have a very polite society reflected in their stellar rhetoric and very successful diplomacy with other countries. Saudi Arabia has done more to peace with other countries in the region than almost any other globally. Although even the most exemplary rhetoric and diplomacy can’t solve every security challenge in the region, the Saudi Arabian government clearly cares deeply about peace, and is achieving much deserved significantly improving relations with all other governments.

President of the
United States of America
Joe Biden

Saudi Arabia is historically a security and economic competitor of Iran. But that past certainly isn’t becoming the future. The Saudi and Iranian governments are at peace with one another, and growing even closer, which is an opportunity for countries that align themselves with Saudi Arabia and Iran as well. The Saudi Arabian and Iranian governments have made phenomenal progress on peace with each other after Russia hosted their leadership in Moscow and successfully encouraged the countries to put aside their differences and become friends. This followed several years of peaceful rhetorical outreach from Iran to Saudi Arabia, and more recently from Saudi Arabia to Iran. The United States and Europe eagerly support peace and improving relations between these countries.

The Saudi Arabia & Iranian populations are obviously comfortable with each other, and therefore support peace between their governments. They peacefully pray together every year at the Hajj, a pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia that can attract tens of thousands of Muslims. The populations enjoy the holiday even though slightly varying views on Islam exist in the two countries. Islam is a religion named for peace. So religious citizens and tourists clearly want peace between these and all other countries. There is therefore every reason for the populations and governments of Saudi Arabia and Iran to get along even better with one another. That appears to be what's taking place. Countries in the region that align themselves with Saudi Arabia and Iran indicate in exemplary rhetoric that they love peace and support improving relations for all countries in the region.

Although the Saudi Arabian and Iranian governments have some competing economic interests, they don’t come close to the much more profound benefits of peace. The Saudi and Iranian governments understand that their improving relations won’t solve every security challenge in the region. People in other countries (especially in Iraq and Yemen) have to do their part for peace. But the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Iran can increasingly join together to encourage tranquility and calm. They can even use their considerable understanding of the region and influence to protect one another. Perhaps they’re ready to achieve an open trading and cooperative security relationship. The United States and Israel are genuine and great supporters of the Saudi Arabian government, including in peace. There is therefore tremendous support for Saudi Arabia’s improving relations with Iran. (Both countries might join with others in signing the Abraham Declarations for Israel and Palestine.)

Saudi Arabia is also reportedly significantly improving relations with Syria. The Saudi and Syrian governments recognized each other’s legitimacy and normalized relations. The leadership even gets together in person at summits.

That’s an extraordinary development after two decades of desire for peace. There has only been great diplomacy and increasingly peaceful rhetoric between the countries. That represents very simply heroic courage for peace. There's growing optimism that all of the leaders in the region are now supporting each other and evolving into great friends.