Saudi Arabia-Israel: no normalization of relations without peace with the Palestinians

Saudi Foreign Minister Faycal Ben Farhane (left) with his German counterpart Heiko Maas (right) in Berlin on August 19, 2020. John MacDougall / Reuters

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Saudi Arabia will not normalize its relations with Israel in the absence of peace with the Palestinians. The Kingdom's Foreign Minister, Faisal Ben Farhane, reaffirmed this position on Wednesday August 19, a few days after the surprise announcement of the rapprochement between the United Arab Emirates and the Hebrew state.


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Saudi Arabia and Israel have a common adversary: ​​Iran. A shared position that fuels speculation on a rapprochement between these two countries, which also have a powerful common ally: the United States. But for the Saudi kingdom, the normalization of relations with Israel is only possible on one condition: the advent of an independent Palestinian state.

“  There must be peace between Israel and the Palestinians, based on recognized international foundations. (...) When this is achieved, then everything will be possible again  , ”Saudi Foreign Minister Fayçal Ben Farhane said at a press conference in Berlin, Germany. It is also the formula of the Arab peace plan of 2002, a Saudi proposal endorsed by the other countries of the Arab League and which aimed to resolve the Israeli-Arab conflict.

► Read also: What can the Palestinians do after the agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates?

Saudi Arabia versus United Arab Emirates

By reaffirming this traditional position, Riyadh sets itself apart from the United Arab Emirates and their spectacular announcement of normalization of relations with the Hebrew state . If there is any Israeli-Saudi cooperation, it will therefore remain secret. This difference in approach shows how the United Arab Emirates are now developing an autonomous policy vis-à-vis the Saudi giant, with which the subjects of convergence remain predominant.

Bahrain and Oman are two other Gulf monarchies said to be tempted by a rapprochement with Israel. The Kingdom and the Sultanate must now choose between the Saudi line and that of the United Arab Emirates.

► Read also: Arab countries divided over the agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates

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  • Saudi Arabia
  • Israel
  • Palestinian territories
  • United Arab Emirates

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