According to a statement from the Saudi foreign ministry on Wednesday (Feb 7), Saudi Arabia conveyed its firm stance to the US. Saudi Arabia will not establish diplomatic relations with Israel unless it recognizes an independent Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem. Additionally, Saudi Arabia insisted that Israeli “aggression” on the Gaza Strip ceases.
On Tuesday, White House National Security spokesperson John Kirby stated that the Biden administration had received encouraging feedback indicating Saudi Arabia and Israel’s willingness to continue discussions regarding normalization.
The kingdom issued the statement to reaffirm its unwavering position to Washington on the Palestinian issue in response to comments attributed to Kirby, the ministry explained.
The notion of formalizing ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia has been under consideration since the Saudis tacitly approved of Gulf neighbors United Arab Emirates and Bahrain establishing relations with Israel in 2020.
Saudi Arabia reportedly put on hold US-backed plans to normalize ties with Israel, according to sources familiar with Riyadh’s perspective, as the conflict between the Palestinian militant group Hamas and Israeli forces intensified in October 2023.
Israel initiated its military operation in Gaza following an incident where militants from Hamas-ruled Gaza killed 1,200 people and took 253 hostages in southern Israel on Oct 7.