Saudi embassy in US: No normalization with Israel without Palestinian state

Share Story

The Saudi embassy in Washington reiterated that the kingdom will not normalize ties with Israel until a Palestinian state is established, amid intensified US efforts to broker a peace agreement between Jerusalem and Riyadh.

“Saudi Arabia’s position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been clear and has been consistent for many years,” spokesman Fahad Nazer told Arab News in an interview published Sunday.

Nazer noted the Saudi-backed Arab Peace Initiative first introduced in 2002, which promises Israel full diplomatic ties with 57 Arab and Muslim states once an accord is reached with the Palestinians. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has previously said the proposal has “positive elements” but has refrained from endorsing it.

“That offer really still remains on the table,” he added.

Nazer did not further comment on Israel in the interview, which dealt largely with US-Saudi relations and the recent Chinese-brokered rapprochement between his country and Iran.

“When it comes to Iran specifically, we have said all along and going back several years at this point, that Iran is obviously our neighbor. They have great potential. They have a predominantly young population. They have a great history and culture,” he said, while noting continued points of friction such as Tehran’s nuclear program.

The spokesman’s comments came days after Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan similarly stressed that normalization depends on a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. While diplomatic ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia would bring significant benefits to the region, bin Farhan said, they would be limited without a Palestinian state.

“I think we should continue to focus on finding a pathway toward a two-state solution, on finding a pathway toward giving the Palestinians dignity and justice. I think the US has a similar view that it’s important to continue on those efforts,” he said last week after meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Riyadh.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, shakes hands with Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan during a joint news conference at the Intercontinental Hotel in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, June 8, 2023. (Ahmed Yosri/Pool Photo via AP)

The response was largely standard for Saudi officials, who have long said publicly that they won’t normalize relations with Israel before the establishment of a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines, even though they’ve offered more flexibility behind closed doors. However, bin Farhan’s acknowledgment that normalizing ties with Israel would offer “significant benefits” appeared to stand out from previous comments.

Saudi Arabia has been willing to entertain normalization but is seeking several large concessions from the US. In addition to cooperation on a civilian nuclear program, which would likely be a cause of apprehension for both the US and Israel, it also expects security and economic guarantees from the Biden administration, a senior US official and a senior Middle East diplomat told The Times of Israel.

In addition, Saudi Arabia will expect a significant concession to the Palestinians in order to solidify any normalization deal, the officials said.

Netanyahu said last week that normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia would be “a quantum leap forward” and “would change history,” noting that a potential agreement is one of his top policy goals.

The premier told Sky News that he cannot guarantee a deal will happen as “it’s up to the Saudis” but that he “certainly hope[s] so.”

Independent journalism needs you

There’s no paywall on The Times of Israel, but the journalism we do is costly. As an independent news organization, we are in no way influenced by political or business interests. We rely on readers like you to support our fact-based coverage of Israel and the Jewish world. If you appreciate the integrity of this type of journalism, please join the ToI Community.

Join our Community

Join our Community

Already a member? Sign in to stop seeing this

You’re a dedicated reader

That’s why we started the Times of Israel eleven years ago – to provide discerning readers like you with must-read coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.

So now we have a request. Unlike other news outlets, we haven’t put up a paywall. But as the journalism we do is costly, we invite readers for whom The Times of Israel has become important to help support our work by joining The Times of Israel Community.

For as little as $6 a month you can help support our quality journalism while enjoying The Times of Israel AD-FREE, as well as accessing exclusive content available only to Times of Israel Community members.

Thank you,
David Horovitz, Founding Editor of The Times of Israel

Join Our Community

Join Our Community

Already a member? Sign in to stop seeing this

Source link


Share Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Posts

This is articles having same tags as the current post.

error: Content is protected !!