Saudi Arabia's King Salman says his kingdom is eager for a fair solution to the Palestinian issue in line with the kingdom's Arab Peace Initiative in a call with US President Trump.

US President Donald Trump in Washington, US, September 4, 2020.
US President Donald Trump in Washington, US, September 4, 2020. (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia's King Salman has told Donald Trump his kingdom is eager to achieve a fair solution to the Palestinian issue as the US president urged the ruler for his help in negotiating with other Gulf countries to resolve the rift with Israel. 

The leaders spoke by phone on Sunday following a US-brokered accord last month under which the United Arab Emirates agreed to become the third Arab state to normalise ties with Israel after Egypt and Jordan.

King Salman reiterated a fair and permanent solution for Palestine was the main starting point of the kingdom's proposed Arab Peace Initiative, the kingdom's official news agency reported.

Trump told the ruler he welcomed the opening of Saudi airspace to flights between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and discussed ways to enhance regional security, a White House spokesperson said.

Earlier on Friday, a sermon referencing jews by the imam of the Grand Mosque of Mecca was interpreted by some as a sign of rapprochment between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

On August 13, US President Donald Trump brokered a deal to normalise relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. The new relations between Israel and the Arab world has drawn condemnation from Palestinians and others who believe it is a "stab in the back" to the Palestinian cause.

READ MORE: No diplomatic ties with Israel without Palestinian peace: Saudi Arabia

Arab Peace Initiative

Under the Saudi proposal, Arab nations have offered Israel normalised ties in return for a statehood deal with the Palestinians and full Israeli withdrawal from territory captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam and site of its holiest shrines, does not recognise Israel.

However, this month the kingdom said it would allow flights between UAE and Israel, including by Israeli airliners, to use its airspace. The announcement came just days after the kingdom let the first direct Israeli commercial passenger flight use its airspace to reach the UAE.

“This will reduce the cost of flights, it will shorten the time, this will greatly develop tourism, it will develop our economy,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a video statement released by his office.

White House adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner has said he hopes another Arab country normalises ties with within months.

No other Arab state has said so far it is considering following the UAE.

King Salman's son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and Kushner discussed the need for the Palestinians and the Israelis to resume negotiations and reach a lasting peace after Kushner visited the UAE last month.

READ MORE: Saudi Arabia airspace opens to all UAE traffic after first Israeli flight

Backlash to normalisation deal

Hundreds of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip rallied against the US-brokered deal as protesters burned Israeli and American flags, trampled on posters of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Donald Trump.

They chanted “normalisation is betrayal to Jerusalem and Palestine”.

READ MORE: Hundreds of Palestinians rally against disputed Israel-UAE deal

In response to the deal, Turkey announced it may downgrade its relations with the UAE as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in mid-August that the country is considering withdrawing its ambassador.

Source: Reuters