Israel-Saudi relations souring as Palestinian problem comes to fore

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Neom, Saudi Arabia, Nov. 22, 2020. (State Department/Ron Przysucha)

By Shahar Klaiman, JNS

A senior Israeli official claims that Saudi Arabia will not be signing any peace agreement with Israel unless progress is made on the Palestinian issue, the London-based Arabic news outlet Elaph reported on Thursday.

The report comes some two months after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman held a secret meeting in Riyadh.

The report went on to say that the unnamed source had told Elaph reporter Majdi Halabi that attempts to present Israeli-Saudi normalization as just around the corner were likely motivated by personal or political considerations.

The source said that Israeli relations with the Saudis had changed, and revealed that the Saudis had entirely cut off contact with Israel. According to the report, even American-mediated indirect communication had stopped, due to the meeting between Netanyahu and bin Salman’s having been leaked. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan denied that the meeting took place.

Elaph reported that Saudi Arabia had not been satisfied with the denial alone, and had stopped all behind-the-scenes contact and coordination.

 

The source quoted in the report further stated that American attempts to pressure Saudi Arabia into signing a normalization agreement with Israel had not succeeded.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.