Saudi FM says Israel normalisation efforts have 'limited benefits' for Palestinians

Saudi FM says Israel normalisation efforts have 'limited benefits' for Palestinians
Saudi Arabia has opposed establishing diplomatic ties with Israel, despite a normalisation push in the region.
2 min read
09 June, 2023
Blinken and Al-Farhan met this week to discuss mutual relations [Getty]

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said a regional normalisation push with Israel has "limited benefits" without Palestinians being given a state of their own.

Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan spoke with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday, including about a normalisation drive that has seen the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan establish ties with Israel over the past few years.

Saudi Arabia has been repeatedly linked to normalisation with Israel, but has denied the reports and said it would only establish ties with the country if a Palestinian state is established, in line with Arab League consensus on the issue.

"We believe that normalisation [with Israel] is in the interest of the region, that it would bring significant benefits to all,” he told reporters.

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"Without finding a pathway to peace for the Palestinian people, without addressing that challenge, any normalization will have limited benefits.

"Therefore, I think we should continue to focus on finding a pathway towards a two-state solution, on finding a pathway towards giving the Palestinians dignity and justice."

Former US President Donald Trump's administration led normalisation efforts between Israel and Arab countries, with the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco all announcing they would establish ties with Israel in 2020. The deals sparked to massive anger in the region and saw the continued suppression of Palestinians.

Since President Joe Biden took office in 2021, there have been no further normalisation pacts between Israel and Arab states, but his government has continued to promote Arab-Israeli relations.

In the meeting, Blinken appeared to promote the idea of further normalisation with Israel in the region.

"The Gulf is more connected than ever - both as a region and with countries in the broader Middle East, including Israel.  The United States will continue to play an integral role in deepening and expanding normalisation," he said.

Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others have consistently opposed normalising ties with Israel without a deal for Palestinians.