Headline RoundupSeptember 21st, 2023

Biden Pushes for Mideast ‘Mega-Deal’ Including Saudi-Israel Normalization

Summary from the AllSides News Team

The Biden administration is pushing for a “grand bargain” to reshape geopolitics in the Middle East, including normalizing relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia. 

The Details: The deal may also include a defense pact between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, as well as U.S. support for uranium enrichment in a Saudi civilian nuclear program. On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. President Joe Biden that Palestinian leadership could be included in the deal but should not be given veto power in negotiations.

For Context: Several Middle Eastern countries have made appeals to diplomacy and stability this week. Israel’s Netanyahu met with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan before his White House visit. Diplomats from the U.S. and several Gulf states are reportedly welcoming “regional de-escalation” and “diplomatic engagement” with Iran. And while Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said at the U.N. that peace could not prevail without recognition of Palestinian statehood, he is also reportedly willing to soften some demands as part of the broader deal with Saudi Arabia. 

How the Media Covered It: Coverage was most common in international outlets, often focusing on Netanyahu’s meeting with Biden. Coverage from the right sometimes focused on criticisms of Biden, who Fox News (Right bias) said previously snubbed Netanyahu; Fox host Bret Baier also interviewed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who touted the “historical” deal. However, an op-ed in the Financial Times (Center bias) was skeptical, calling the effort “misguided” and potentially a “grand illusion.”

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