Arab steps toward normalization have become more meaningful to Israelis than anything they would expect from the Palestinians, allowing Israeli officials to present a paradigm shift: instead of obtaining Arab-Israeli normalization through Israeli-Palestinian peace, they could try to provide space and cover for peacemaking with the Palestinians through convergence with Arab states.
But this was always the way! Notwithstanding all the other complications, no Palestinian leader could ever be expected to make peace with Israel outside an umbrella of significant Arab (read: Egypt and Saudi) support. For as long as the official Arab line is ‘no peace until Israel concedes everything’ continues, Palestinians daring to make peaceful noises (much less sign an agreement) would be left out in the cold.
I’ve long thought that Israeli-Palestinian peace requires the Arabs to extend an olive branch – perhaps opening a trade office with ‘Palestine’ (and through it, Israel) in East Jerusalem – so as to give Ramallah political cover to make the significant concessions peace will require.
Herzog also writes
Conceptually, [France’s] efforts are informed by the classic, misguided view that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is essential to regional stability
He’s bang on. France (and much of the rest of the West) has it backwards.