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Prince Faisal bin Farhan. Photo: John MacDougall, Pool/Getty Images

Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan said Wednesday that the kingdom supports peace in the Middle East on the basis of the Arab Peace Initiative, which calls for normalization with Israel to be paired with withdrawal from the occupied territories and the creation of a Palestinian state.

Why it matters: This could be interpreted as a cool initial response to the U.S.-brokered normalization deal between Israel and the UAE.

Between the lines: Israeli officials said they'd hoped for a warmer reaction to the deal from Saudi Arabia, which has refrained from either praising or criticizing it. The Israeli government hopes Saudi Arabia, a secret ally in Israel's efforts to counter Iran, might follow the UAE in recognizing Israel.

  • During a press conference in Berlin with his German counterpart, the Saudi foreign minister also warned that unilateral Israeli steps, like annexing parts of the West Bank, will undermine the chances for peace and a two-state solution.

The big picture: The Israeli government hoped the UAE move would break a diplomatic deadlock among Arab countries, none of which had recognized Israel since Jordan in 1994 and Egypt in 1979.

  • A Sudanese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said yesterday that the North African country intended to follow the UAE's example, and it was already in talks with Israel.
  • But the foreign minister himself then intervened, saying he was "astonished" by the spokesperson's comments, which were "not authorized." The spokesperson was later fired.

Go deeper:

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Nov 25, 2020 - World

Palestinians prepare charm offensive for Biden

Abbas and Biden in Ramallah in 2010. Photo: Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

Palestinian leaders are considering several initiatives that they hope will encourage strong relations with the incoming administration and make it easier for Biden to roll back Trump's policies.

Why it matters: After four years of deep crisis in U.S.-Palestinian relations, President Mahmoud Abbas desperately needs to rebuild his standing in Washington.

Nov 25, 2020 - World

Bibi Barometer: Gantz's "submarine affair" probe signals end of pact

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Pool, Gali Tibbon/Getty Images

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz may have put the last nail in the coffin of Israel's power-sharing government when he formed an inquiry panel to probe the "submarine affair," a scandal that has ensnared some of Netanyahu's close advisers and confidants.

Why it matters: For Netanyahu, this is a declaration of war by his coalition partner. The inquiry could lead to the conclusion that Netanyahu mishandled sensitive national security matters and cause him major political damage.

Collins helps contractor before pro-Susan PAC gets donation

Sen. Susan Collins during her reelection campaign. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

A PAC backing Sen. Susan Collins in her high-stakes reelection campaign received $150,000 from an entity linked to the wife of a defense contractor whose firm Collins helped land a federal contract, new public records show.

Why it matters: The executive, Martin Kao of Honolulu, leaned heavily on his political connections to boost his business, federal prosecutors say in an ongoing criminal case against him. The donation linked to Kao was veiled until last week.