Arab countries will not agree to normalize ties with Israel unless Jerusalem agrees to a two-state solution, Republican US Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Sunday.

The comments amounted to a rare recognition by a Republican lawmaker that Palestinian statehood is a condition for the expansion of the Abraham Accords, a series of US-brokered normalization agreements between Israel and Arab states negotiated under the administration of former US president Donald Trump. They came as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was weeks into a public post-October 7 campaign in which he has vowed to block the strategy.


Is the recognition that Palestinian statehood is a condition for the expansion of the Abraham Accords formalized in writing? I was wondering if it was formalized in writing, or more explicitly made into law, because I am wondering if Israel can somehow bypass the U.S. and expand the agreement without giving statehood to the Palestinians.

2 Answers 2


No, I would interpret this statement to be a political assessment, not a legal one.

What exactly would constitute "the expansion of the Abraham Accords"? It would mean convincing additional countries to sign their own bilateral agreements with Israel, comparable to the ones listed in the relevant Wikipedia article. I see no evidence of a formal process that requires Palestinian statehood in order for that to happen. Rather, Graham seems to simply be opining that the remaining Arab states are unlikely to have the political will to do so otherwise.


Is the recognition that Palestinian statehood is a condition for the expansion of the Abraham Accords formalized in writing? I was wondering if it was formalized in writing, or more explicitly made into law, because I am wondering if Israel can somehow bypass the U.S. and expand the agreement without giving statehood to the Palestinians.

Firstly, the Palestinian statehood cannot be made into law, since no one can impose laws to sovereign countries, including the Arab states.

Secondly, the question mistakenly assumes that the US is somehow more interested in Palestinian statehood than the Arab states - this is misrepresentation of the issue.

Arab League
Khartoum resolution
Generally, the Arab states' attitudes towards Israel are expressed by the Arab League, as consensus of all the Arab states. For a long time Arab Leagu simply refused to ever recognize Israel's existence or allow the possibility fo a Jewish state in the Middle East, as expressed by the famous Three Noes of the Khartoum resolution:

  • No peace with Israel,
  • No negotiation with Israel,
  • No recognition of Israel

Camp-David accords
The Peace agreement between Egypt and Israel did contain the language regarding the creation of the Palestinian state:

The Accords recognized the "legitimate rights of the Palestinian people", a process to be implemented guaranteeing the full autonomy of the people within a period of five years. Begin insisted on the adjective "full" to ensure that it was the maximum political right attainable. This full autonomy was to be discussed with the participation of Israel, Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinians. The withdrawal of Israeli troops from the West Bank and Gaza was agreed to occur after an election of a self-governing authority to replace Israel's military government.2 The Accords did not mention the Golan Heights, Syria, or Lebanon. This was not the comprehensive peace that Kissinger, Ford, Carter, or Sadat had in mind during the previous American presidential transition.[19] It was less clear than the agreements concerning the Sinai, and was later interpreted differently by Israel, Egypt, and the United States. The fate of Jerusalem was deliberately excluded from this agreement.[20]

Since the Accord contradicted the above stated policy of the Arab League, Egypt was excluded from the League, until it was readmitted ten years later.

Arab peace initiative
In 2022 the Arab League endorsed the Arab Peace Initiative (proposed by Saudi Arabia), which promises Israel full recognition after the withdrawal from the Palestinian territories and creation of a Palestinian state:

In 2002, Saudi Arabia proposed the Arab Peace Initiative in The New York Times, which was endorsed unanimously at a summit meeting of the Arab League in Beirut. The plan is based on UN Security Council Resolution 242 and Resolution 338, but makes more demands, essentially calling for full withdrawal by Israel "to the 1967 borders" (i.e., the 1949 Armistice line) in return for fully normalized relations with the whole Arab world.

The condition of this proposal are naturally more favorable to the Palestinians than those negotiated within the Oslo framework and not acceptable to Israel. Yet, it is a significant change of the Arab states position towards the very Israel's existence.

Abraham Accords
Abraham accords largely ignored the Palestinian issue, although without concerted opposition from the Arab League:

The summit did not take a position on the Abraham Accords, reflecting the divisions between the Arabs. Arab summits help set the parameters for the public debate in the Arab world. The Algiers summit largely reiterated established norms and avoided contentious issues. It did underscore the growing importance of the host nation Algeria.

Algeria appeared as the most active critic of the accords:

Algeria is the largest Arab country and the largest country in Africa. It has tilted left ever since its war for independence from France. It is an outspoken opponent of the Abraham Accords and especially Morocco’s close relations with Israel. Algeria broke diplomatic relations with Morocco after the Israelis opened an embassy in Rabat. The two states are rivals in the Maghreb, and Algeria supports the Polisario Front independence movement in Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara.

It is worth noting that Syria (who has territorial disputes with Israel) had been excluded from the League over the Syrian civil war, whereas the countries involved in the Abraham Accords have no axe to grind against Israel:

The Abraham Accords, and other forms of Arab-Israeli normalization that have since followed, were touted as a peace agreement between opposing sides of a conflict. However, none of the signatories of the accords were in direct conflict with Israel. It is true that by virtue of being members of the Arab League, the signatory countries have taken positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; for example, all were signatories of the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, which emphasized Palestinian statehood as a key objective. Nevertheless, none of these countries have ever been at war with Israel. Moreover, unlike Israel’s neighboring countries, they were at low risk of involvement given their geographic distance. Thus, to frame the Abraham Accords as a “peace” that increased stability between signatories is deliberately misleading, specifically because there was little engagement between them in the first place.

Abraham fund
Finally, in the context of Abraham accords, the Trump administration tried to promote Abraham fund, intended (among other things) to help developing Palestinian infrastructure:

The Abraham Fund was a program sponsored by the U.S. Government that was supposed to raise $3 billion to boost trade and agriculture in the region, facilitate access to clean water and affordable electricity, and "enable strategic infrastructure projects".[74] The Fund was to be overseen by the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, and then-CEO Adam Boehler. Its first projects were reported to be the upgrading of checkpoints between Israel and Palestinian territories and a gas pipeline to be built between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. Despite numerous visits by Kushner and U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin with rulers in the region in the last months of the Trump presidency, the fund never received any money, and no projects were ever begun.[75] Following the transition to the Biden administration and the resignation of the Fund's appointed manager, Aryeh Lightstone, the future of the Fund was thrown into question.[76]

The Biden administration abandoned this project.

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