February 21, 2024

As The Washington Post’s David Ignatius reported, Biden and his team have worked assiduously with the leaders of Saudi Arabia to create a proposal for normalizing relations with Israel—a major goal of Bibi’s. The kicker, of course: Saudi agreement would be contingent on Israel’s acceptance of a clear path to a Palestinian state.

For Israel to embrace this plan would likely destroy Netanyahu’s current coalition, but to reject it would eliminate his long-standing dream of a broad alliance with Arab states in the region, leaving a far more isolated Iran, further fracturing Israel’s relationship with the United States, and expanding Netanyahu’s isolation from other allies. If his coalition collapsed, Bibi would have two choices—lose his prime ministership (probably for the last time), or form a new, centrist coalition with a very different approach to the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority, and even the conflict in Gaza.

The Biden administration has accelerated movement in that direction as part of last Friday’s bold and unpredicted executive order that imposed an intricate set of sanctions on violent settlers. It carried a threat of ramping up economic pain on others, including far-right Israeli Cabinet members and backroom funders, if settler terrorists persist in violent attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank.