The US plans to meet with Israel and Arab countries that recognize it as Washington pushes the new government of Benjamin Netanyahu to show restraint.
Netanyahu is set to take office with the most right-wing government in Israeli history, including fringe figures who strongly support settlement expansion in Palestinian areas.
A senior US official said the US is planning a meeting “probably in the first quarter” of 2023 of foreign ministers from the so-called Negev summit in March.
The meeting with the then centrist Israeli government brought into the Israeli desert the foreign minister of Egypt, the first Arab state to make peace with Israel, and his counterparts from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco, who normalized relations in 2020 in the so-called Abraham Accords.
The accords, also hailed as a landmark achievement by then-U.S. President Donald Trump, are “near and dear to the heart of Prime Minister Netanyahu, and so I believe he wants to continue to see this move forward,” a U.S. official said on condition of anonymity.
“I think Israel should take this into account,” the official said.
“Depending on what Israel does, it can make it harder or easier for these countries to really get involved, participate and move forward, not to mention getting new countries involved in the process.”
The United Arab Emirates initiated the Abraham Accords in exchange for a promise from the then Netanyahu government not to move forward with the annexation of the West Bank, a move that was favored by the Trump administration.
The administration of President Joe Biden has warned that it opposes annexation and settlement expansion and supports the creation of a Palestinian state without making any serious diplomatic efforts to achieve a goal that is considered to have little chance of success.