Despite What It Says, Saudi Arabia Doesn’t Want a Palestinian State

May 28, 2020 | Yoram Ettinger
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While Riyadh has for a long time loudly championed the Palestinian cause, Saudi interests would not be served by the implementation of a two-state solution, writes Yoram Ettinger:

The House of Saud does not forget, or forgive, the Palestinian track record of intra-Arab terrorism and treachery, most notably the 1990 Palestinian collaboration with Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, which was the Palestinians’ most generous Arab host. Riyadh is convinced . . . that a Palestinian state would constitute another rogue anti-Saudi regime, [and that] the Palestinian Authority and Hamas [are] active or potential allies of Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Iran’s ayatollahs, Hizballah, and the Muslim Brotherhood, [all of] which aim to topple the House of Saud.

At the same time, Saudi ties with Israel have expanded substantially—militarily, commercially, technologically, medically, and agriculturally—despite the lack of progress on the Palestinian issue and in the face of mutual threats and challenges. [The] House of Saud . . . considers Israel an essential, reliable, and effective ally in the face of these threats. While the United States is, by far, a more significant ally of Saudi Arabia, its reliability was deeply eroded in Riyadh during the 2009-2016 U.S.-Iran honeymoon.

Israel’s posture of deterrence is based—to a large extent—on topographic high grounds (the Golan Heights and the Judea and Samaria mountain ridges), which have transformed Israel into a key regional force-multiplier, bolstering the national security of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and other pro-U.S. Arab regimes. A retreat from these high grounds would demolish Israel’s posture of deterrence, denying Saudi Arabia and all other pro-U.S. Arab regimes a critical line of defense.

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