Saudi ambassador to UK says normalisation with Israel is 'important'

Saudi ambassador to UK says normalisation with Israel is 'important'
Prince Khalid bin Bandar has said that normalisation with Israel is 'important' to Saudi Arabia despite the ongoing war on Gaza
2 min read
21 June, 2024
Prince Khalid bin Bandar spoke about normalisation at a Chatham House conference in London [Wikimedia Commons]

Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the UK said on Thursday that normalisation with Israel is "important" despite the ongoing war on Gaza.

Speaking at a Chatham House conference in London, Prince Khalid bin Bandar added however the kingdom would not make any decisions that would compromise Palestinian self-determination.

"Normalisation is important to Saudi Arabia and to everyone in the region and anyone who is sensible because it brings peace, stability and security," he said

"If you look at our region, it’s the lion's paw but it has a number of thorns, one big thorn that covers all others is the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and until we remove it, it's difficult to remove other thorns." 

"But we will not normalise at the expense of the Palestinian people and their self-determination and their state," he added.

According to Arab News, the ambassador warned that unless a solution is found, the threat of a regional conflict is more likely.

"We believe in the creation of a Palestinian state and a solution to the conflict. If it was easy, we'd have done it by now but without that, normalisation is irrelevant. There is no point having normalisation because we would still have a conflict and conflict is the problem, not normalisation," he added.

During the panel, he said "Israel needs to play ball as well" in regard to brokering a solution to the issue.

The ambassador reiterated that Saudi Arabia's position has remained firm and that there would be no diplomatic relations with Israel unless it recognises an independent Palestinian state based on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

However, before the Gaza war there was strong speculation that Saudi Arabia was about to normalise ties with Israel.

He called for permanent members of the Security Council to move forward with recognising a Palestinian state, allowing Palestinians to obtain their legitimate rights.

The event came amid Israel's ongoing war on Gaza, which has killed 37,400 Palestinians and wounded at least 85,600 in the same time frame.

Israel's bombardment of the besieged enclave has levelled entire neighbourhoods and plunged the Strip into a deep humanitarian crisis.