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Saudi Arabia halts talks on peace deal with Israel – report

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By World Israel News Staff

In a significant setback to normalizing ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel, the government in Riyadh has reportedly informed the Biden administration that it was suspending all related discussions, an Israeli official from the Prime Minister’s Office revealed to the London-based Saudi news outlet Elaph on Sunday.

The Arab news medium, which is viewed by many as a public broadcaster for Jerusalem and Riyadh, cited the anonymous official as blaming Israel’s “extremist” government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Saudi Arabia also expressed concerns that the current Israeli government is obstructing a peace process with the Palestinians.

According to the report, Israel was “confused” by the move, after expressing that a normalization deal with Saudi Arabia would not be contingent on resolving the Palestinian question.

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen told Elaph last month that the “Palestinian issue is not an obstacle to peace.”

The report also highlighted Saudi Arabia’s growing frustration at what it perceives as Netanyahu surrendering to the demands posed by “extreme-right” officials including National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich.

Last week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized Saudi Arabia’s perspective on addressing Palestinian matters as a precondition to any potential normalization accord with Israel. “It is also clear from what we hear from the Saudis that if this process is to move forward, the Palestinian piece is going to be very important too,” Blinken said on U.S. podcast, “Pod Save the World.”

“Any of the efforts that are going on to improve relations between Israel and its neighbors cannot be a substitute for Israel and the Palestinians resolving their differences and having a much better future for Palestinians,” he added.

 

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