Saudi Arabia: No ties with Israel without independent Palestinian state

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (left) and Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Feb 7: Saudi Arabia has reaffirmed its position to the United States, asserting that diplomatic ties with Israel will not materialize unless an independent Palestinian state is recognized within the 1967 borders, inclusive of East Jerusalem. The Saudi foreign ministry conveyed this stance in a statement issued on Wednesday.

The statement comes in response to remarks made by White House National Security spokesperson John Kirby on Tuesday, indicating positive signals regarding ongoing normalization discussions between Saudi Arabia and Israel under the Biden administration.

Emphasizing its unwavering stance on the Palestinian issue, Saudi Arabia clarified its position to Washington in light of Kirby’s comments, as stated by the ministry.

Discussions surrounding the formalization of ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia have been underway since the Saudis tacitly endorsed the establishment of diplomatic relations between their Gulf neighbors, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, with Israel in 2020.

Sources familiar with Riyadh’s perspective revealed that Saudi Arabia halted US-backed plans to normalize relations with Israel in October 2023, amid escalating conflict between the Palestinian militant group Hamas and Israeli forces.

The escalation in hostilities followed an incident where militants from Hamas-ruled Gaza perpetrated an attack in southern Israel on October 7, resulting in casualties and hostages. Israel subsequently launched a military offensive in Gaza in response to the attack.

As diplomatic efforts persist, Saudi Arabia’s reaffirmation of its stance underscores the complexities surrounding regional dynamics and the enduring challenges in achieving lasting peace in the Middle East.

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