Saudi Arabia communicated to the United States that diplomatic relations with Israel would only be considered if an independent Palestinian state is recognized on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, as stated by the foreign ministry on Wednesday (7 Feb).
The Saudi Foreign Ministry’s statement reiterated the condition for diplomatic relations, emphasizing the need for the recognition of an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, including East Jerusalem as its capital.
A Statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the discussions between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America on the Arab-Israeli peace process. pic.twitter.com/UBWc30iv1V
— Foreign Ministry 🇸🇦 (@KSAmofaEN) February 7, 2024
Additionally, it called for an end to “Israeli aggression” in the Gaza Strip and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the territory.
The ministry also urged the permanent members of the UN Security Council to expedite the recognition of a Palestinian state.
The United States had actively pursued diplomatic efforts to encourage Saudi Arabia to normalize ties with Israel and recognize the country.
However, these efforts were put on hold due to the Gaza war in October, prompting Riyadh to suspend the matter amid Arab discontent over Israel’s offensive.
Saudi Arabia might consider a political commitment from Israel to establish a Palestinian state, rather than a more binding agreement, in an attempt to secure a defence pact with Washington before the upcoming U.S. presidential election.
The Saudi Foreign Ministry’s statement followed positive feedback from the U.S. National Security Council, indicating that both Saudi Arabia and Israel are willing to continue discussions on normalization, as acknowledged by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his regional tour.
According to Blinken, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reiterated Saudi Arabia’s strong interest in pursuing normalization, emphasizing the importance of ending the conflict in Gaza and establishing a clear, credible, time-bound path to a Palestinian state.
The Biden administration received positive feedback regarding the willingness of Saudi Arabia and Israel to continue normalization discussions, according to White House National Security spokesperson John Kirby.
Recent Gaza war revives two-state solution talks
The recent Gaza war has refocused attention on the two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, despite the fact that negotiations have been stagnant for several years.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has emphasized his unwillingness to compromise on full Israeli security west of the Jordan River, posing a challenge to the establishment of a Palestinian state.
Several countries, including the United States and Britain, have reiterated their support for the two-state solution.
British Foreign Secretary David Cameron announced on 2 February that Britain envisions a future time when it will consider recognizing a Palestinian state, possibly even at the United Nations.
Israel launched a deadly offensive on Gaza starting on 7 October 2023, resulting in the tragic loss of at least 27,585 Palestinian lives and injuries to 66,978 others.
The Israeli offensive has had severe humanitarian consequences, leaving 85 per cent of Gaza’s population internally displaced.
The region is grappling with acute shortages of food, clean water, and medicine.
Furthermore, 60 per cent of Gaza’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, as reported by the United Nations.
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