Thursday, May 23

Saudi Arabia Does Not Follow UAE: First Peace With Palestinians, Then Israel

Saudi Arabia will not follow the example of the neighbouring United Arab Emirates in establishing diplomatic relations with Israel for the time being.

 

After nearly a week of silence, the Saudis say Israel must first make peace with the Palestinians, then normal relations are possible.

Last week, Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced that they would establish full diplomatic relations.

The UAE is the first Gulf state to do so and, after Egypt and Jordan, only the third Arab country to establish official relations with Israel. Other Arab countries, such as Oman, Bahrain and Sudan, have also spoken positively about this and are likely to follow suit.

For almost a week it remained remarkably quiet in Saudi Arabia, which apparently was somewhat surprised by the move by neighbouring UAE. Today, the Saudi Foreign Minister showed Faysal bin Farhan Al-Saud in his cards during a visit to Germany.

The Saudis are not participating in this diplomatic movement towards Israel for the time being. According to them, Israel must first make peace with the Palestinian government. After that, Saudi Arabia is open to normal relations with Israel.

In concrete terms, the kingdom is sticking to the peace proposal launched by the previous King Abdullah (then still crown prince) in 2002.

Then the Arab countries offered Israel a peace treaty and normal relations in exchange for the establishment of a Palestinian state and a full Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 Six-Day War borders. In that case, East Jerusalem would have the al-Aqsa Mosque come back under Palestinian control.

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