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Eyeing Saudi Deal, Biden Admin Pressuring Netanyahu on Palestinian State Ahead of Upcoming Congressional Address: Report

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks before a joint meeting of Congress in 2015. AP
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks before a joint meeting of Congress in 2015. AP

Several aides to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the White House that the 74-year-old leader may concede to some of their demands during his scheduled speech to the United States Congress next month, according to a report by Israel's Channel 13.

Recent State Department proposals encompass a hostage exchange coupled with a ceasefire, mediation to resolve the Jewish state's ongoing conflict with Hezbollah, and the establishment of diplomatic relations with Riyadh.

These conditions for Jerusalem have been pressed by the Biden administration since the start of the October war in Gaza.

What still remains on the table is the Biden administration's insistence on a Palestinian state, which has also been supported by much of the international community. According to the Channel 13 report however, Bibi will have to concede on certain aspects of working toward a two-state solution.

Netanyahu, who has never been a strong supporter of Palestinian statehood, has toughened his stance on the issue since the October 7 massacre, describing it as a reward for the atrocities committed by the Hamas terrorist organization.

When asked for comment on the report, a spokesperson for the Prime Minister affirmed this policy, telling The Times of Israel that Netanyahu “opposes a Palestinian state and will not change his position in his address to Congress.”

The report comes as diplomats in Washington have been finalizing a major security agreement with Saudi Arabia, and officials in the Kingdom have maintained that formal sovereignty for the regime in Ramallah is a requirement for their participation.

If the pact with the Saudis were to be approved, observers feel that it would be an important political victory for President Joe Biden, who trails former President Donald Trump in election polls.

Related Story: Saudis Will Accept ‘Verbal Agreement’ on Palestinian State for Normalization with Jerusalem: Report

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