US working on grand regional bargain to end Israel-Hamas war

The plan also envisions normalization between Israel and the Arab world, the release of captives and a new regime in Gaza.

By Ariel Kahana | | Topics: Hamas, America, Gaza
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken holds a press conference in Tel Aviv on Jan. 9. 2024. Credit: Chuck Kennedy/US State Department.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken holds a press conference in Tel Aviv on Jan. 9. 2024. Credit: Chuck Kennedy/US State Department.

An Israeli source confirmed Thursday that the Biden administration was currently working on a regional grand bargain that comprises several tenets aimed at long-term stability as part of a post-war reality.

Apart from ending the current hostilities in Gaza it also envisions normalization between Israel and the Arab world, the release of captives and a new regime in Gaza.

The plan appears to be part of what US Secretary of State Antony Blinken referred to when he said in Davos this week that Israel needed to make tough decisions. The plan is still in a very preliminary stage and it is unclear how much of it has been formulated into actual text or formulas that could see the war end and a political process replace it.

Earlier on Thursday the UK newspaper Financial Times reported that Arab countries are working on an initiative to secure a ceasefire and release of captives from Gaza as part of a broader normalization plan between Saudi Arabia and Israel—if Jerusalem agreed to “irreversible” steps towards establishing a Palestinian state.

The Saudi Al-Hadath network reported from its sources that recently there was a meeting between senior Israelis, senior Americans and senior Palestinians. According to the report, the discussions aimed at determining who would govern the Gaza Strip after the war, and transferring the management of its affairs to the Palestinian Authority.

According to Financial Times, a senior Arab official said they hope to present the plan, which would include establishing relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, within a few weeks, to end the war against Hamas and prevent the conflict from expanding in the Middle East.

Arab sources discussed the plan with their counterparts in the US and Europe. According to the report, it will include agreement by Arab states to formally recognize a Palestinian state, or support the Palestinians, who will receive full UN membership.

One official said, “The real issue is that there needs to be hope for the Palestinians, it cannot just be economic benefits or removal of occupation symbols.”

The initiative comes as Israel faces growing international pressure to end the war against Hamas.