On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia unequivocally stated that it would not establish diplomatic relations with Israel unless certain conditions were met, foremost among them being the recognition of an independent Palestinian state.
The Saudi Foreign Ministry’s official statement outlined the prerequisites for diplomatic ties, emphasising the need for the Palestinian state to be acknowledged based on the borders established in 1967, with East Jerusalem designated as its capital.
Additionally, the Saudi stance emphasised that normalisation was contingent on the cessation of Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip and the complete withdrawal of all Israeli forces from Gaza.
This announcement followed remarks from John Kirby, a spokesperson for the US National Security Council, who indicated that the US administration had received “positive feedback” suggesting a willingness from both Saudi Arabia and Israel to engage in ongoing discussions regarding normalisation.
However, the Saudi Foreign Ministry’s statement appears to set clear conditions for any diplomatic engagement between Saudi Arabia and Israel.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had previously expressed the belief that normalisation between Saudi Arabia and Israel could yield “immense benefits” and contribute to Israel’s greater integration into the region.
Despite this, the Saudi Ministry’s statement underscores the principled stance tied to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and the resolution of issues related to Gaza.
The ministry also took the opportunity to call upon the permanent members of the UN Security Council to expedite the recognition of a Palestinian state. This, according to the statement, would ensure that the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people are acknowledged and pave the way for a comprehensive and just peace that encompasses all parties involved.
It is noteworthy that the Saudi position was articulated against the backdrop of ongoing tensions in the region.
The statement did not suggest an immediate prospect of establishing diplomatic ties with Israel but rather underscored the importance of addressing key issues related to the Palestinian cause and the situation in Gaza.