Saudi Arabia delegation to visit West Bank this week amid Israeli normalisation talks

Saudi Arabia delegation to visit West Bank this week amid Israeli normalisation talks
The Saudi delegation's visit to the West Bank comes after Saudi Arabia and Israel said they were "getting closer" to a normalisation deal last week.
2 min read
25 September, 2023
President Mahmoud Abbas is expected tor receive the non-resident Saudi envoy to the Palestinians in Ramallah this week [Getty]

A Saudi delegation is due to visit Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah this week, a Palestinian official said, amid diplomatic efforts to secure a normalisation agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia that could involve concessions for Palestinians.

The delegation will be led by Nayef Al-Sudairi, the non-resident Saudi envoy to the Palestinians, who was appointed last month, the official said.

The visit comes after both Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last week that efforts were underway to reach an agreement establishing diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Saudi Arabia, however, has repeatedly said that such agreement can only be reached should the Palestinians be granted their own state. Last week, Bin Salman told US broadcaster Fox News that "the Palestinian issue is very important", and "needs to be solved."

Abbas also said no Middle East peace agreement would be achievable until Palestinians were granted full rights.

A Palestinian delegation reportedly visited Saudi Arabia earlier, demanding that Riyadh implements the Arab Peace Initiative in exchange for normalisation with Israel, a source revealed to The New Arab's Arabic-language site, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

The intiative conditions diplomatic relations with Israel on a withdrawal from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, paving the way for an independent Palestinian state.

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The source added that the Palestinian Authority also demanded that the state is granted full membership status in the United Nations.

Meanwhile, US officials have cautioned that any agreement, expected to include a defence agreement with Washington and a civilian nuclear programme for Saudi Arabia, would be some way off.

The Saudi visit to the West Bank comes after years of speculation that Riyadh and Tel Aviv would normalise ties, in the aftermath of the controversial Abraham Accords which saw Bahrain, Morocco and the UAE establish official ties with Israel.

The Abraham Accords were condemned by Palestinians and much of the Arab world, for rewarding Israel while it continues to occupy the West Bank and besiege the Gaza Strip.

(Reuters and The New Arab Staff)