Middle East

Saudi Arabia says it will have no diplomatic relations with Israel without an independent Palestinian state

From CNN's Hamdi Alkhshali

Saudi Arabia will have no diplomatic relations with Israel without the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, Riyadh said on Wednesday.

“The Kingdom has communicated its firm position to the US administration that there will be no diplomatic relations with Israel unless an independent Palestinian state is recognized on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital,” the Saudi Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Another condition would be that, “Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip stops and all Israeli occupation forces withdraw from the Gaza Strip,” the statement said.

Some context: Most Arab and Islamic states don’t recognize Israel and the demand for the establishment of a Palestinian state is a long-held Saudi position.

But just weeks before Hamas launched its October 7 attack on Israel, Riyadh said it was inching closer to normalizing diplomatic ties with the Jewish state. Experts say the price that Saudi would demand in exchange for normalization would be higher now than before the Gaza war, as Riyadh may feel compelled to extract more concessions from the United States and Israel.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday that Saudi still has a “strong interest” in normalizing relations with Israel.

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