Saudi Arabia names conditions for Israel deal

Lazy eyes listen


Saudi Arabia will not establish formal links with Israel until it recognises an independent Palestinian state and ends its “aggression” against Gaza, according to the Foreign Ministry in Riyadh.

In a statement on Wednesday, the ministry revealed that it had informed the US “that there will be no diplomatic relations with Israel unless an independent Palestinian state is recognised on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, and the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip stops and all Israeli occupation forces withdraw from the Gaza Strip.”

“The Kingdom reiterates its call to the permanent members of the UN Security Council…to expedite the recognition of the Palestinian state,” the ministry stated. This would assist ensure “a comprehensive and just peace.”

The statement did not indicate whether Israel must also recognise a Palestinian state in order for the agreement with Saudi Arabia to proceed.

While the United States is apparently considering recognising Palestinian statehood, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected the proposal. Instead, he has insisted on “full Israeli security control over the entire area west of Jordan,” which includes areas considered Palestinian under the 1967 lines.

The term “1967 borders” refers to Israel’s frontiers as they stood before the Six-Day War. A return to these lines would see Gaza expand, while Israel would relinquish its claims to the West Bank, Golan Heights, and East Jerusalem, and would withdraw its security forces and settlers from these areas.

The Saudi statement came a day after White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters that talks on a normalization deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel were “ongoing,” and that the US had received “positive feedback from both sides.” 

Saudi Arabia did not join its neighbors, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, in recognizing Israel under the Abraham Accords, brokered by former US President Donald Trump in 2020. 

Riyadh and West Jerusalem were on the cusp of a deal before the Israel-Hamas war broke out in October, with Washington offering the Saudis a defense pact with the US in exchange for recognizing the Jewish state. However, Saudi officials suspended negotiations in response to Israel’s bombing of Gaza, and reports at the time suggested that the kingdom would insist that any future deal include significant concessions to the Palestinians from the Israeli side