RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — For 15 years, Saudi Arabia has been pitching its formula for peace among Israel, the Palestinians and the Arab world, with little response from Israeli leaders.
And for months now, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asserted Israel’s increasing strategic alignment with Persian Gulf states over their shared enmity toward Iran.
But it took President Trump just a couple of hours after he landed in Israel on Monday to suddenly and quite publicly combine those two ideas as the centerpiece of his plan for a peace deal. With the gusto of a salesman pushing a limited-time offer, he cast the Saudi monarch in a leading role and invoked his name to push Mr. Netanyahu toward progress with the Palestinians.
It was a case study in wheeler-dealer diplomacy, aimed at unlocking progress in a conflict that has bedeviled decades of peace efforts. And even though it remained unclear what, if anything, the Saudi monarch had actually agreed to and whether Israel would make an offer acceptable to Arab states, Mr. Trump has used his entire trip so far to signal that he sees the Saudis as central.
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