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Saudi Arabia commits itself to standing with Palestine

  • 15 Sep 2020

Saudi Cabinet said that the kingdom stands by the Palestinian people and supports all efforts aimed at enabling the Palestinian people to establish their independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders.

In this December 9, 2018 file photo, released by the state-run Saudi Press Agency, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, left, speaks to his father, King Salman, at a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. ( AP )

Saudi Arabia said it stands by the Palestinian people and supports all efforts aimed at reaching a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian issue.

A cabinet statement on Tuesday read, "The cabinet notes that the kingdom stands by the Palestinian people and supports all efforts aimed at reaching a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian issue that enables the Palestinian people to establish their independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with international legitimacy decisions and the Arab Peace Initiative."

Earlier on Tuesday, Israel and two Gulf Arab states, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, signed normalisation agreements at the White House in Washington.

READ MORE: Why are Arab states muted over the UAE-Israel deal?

Trump believes Saudi Arabia will normalize Israeli ties

US President Donald Trump said Tuesday he believes Saudi Arabia will follow Bahrain and the UAE in fully normalising relations with Israel. 

Trump told reporters at the White House that the Kingdom is among several countries he believes are on the verge of opening diplomatic ties with Tel Aviv, saying that after speaking with King Salman, he thinks the country will do so "at the right time."

“We have many other countries going to be joining us, and they’re going to be joining us soon," Trump said just hours after Bahrain and the UAE officially signed documents normalizing ties with Israel. 

The president further increased the number of nations he says are close to following in the steps of the two Arab Gulf nations "fairly rapidly" after saying earlier Tuesday that it was five or six. 

"We’ll have 7 or 8 or 9. We’re going to have a lot of other countries joining us, including the big ones," he said. 

During Tuesday's formal signing ceremony, Trump said the agreements would end "decades of division and conflict" in the region and usher in the "dawn of a new Middle East."

"Thanks to the courage of the leaders of these three countries, we take a major stride toward a future in which people of all faiths and backgrounds live together in peace and prosperity," Trump said, addressing hundreds of guests assembled for the event on the South Lawn of the White House.

Bahrain became the fourth Arab country to establish diplomatic relations with Israel last Friday after Egypt in 1979, Jordan in 1994 and the UAE in August.

In addition to the bilateral agreements signed between Israel and the Arab nations, all three and the US signed the mutual pact Trump and his administration call the “Abraham Accords.”

Saudi Arabia's stance

Saudi Arabia had previously told an Arab League meeting it supported all efforts to reach a comprehensive solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

A statement released by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan al Saud last week, included no direct mention of a normalisation deal between Israel and the UAE.

The prince said Riyadh supported the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the borders before the 1967 Middle East war, with occupied East Jerusalem as its capital, according to the statement.

On the other hand, Saudi Arabia opened up its airspace to Israel-UAE flights after the normalisation deal but has said it will not follow the UAE until the Jewish state has signed an internationally recognised peace accord with Palestine.

Disputed Deal

During the 1967 war, Israel captured territory including the West Bank and Gaza, which it still occupies.

Announced on August 13, the UAE-Israel accord was the first such accommodation between an Arab country and Israel in more than 20 years, and was forged largely through shared fears of Iran.

Bahrain followed in UAE's footsteps a few weeks later.

In Washington earlier, the deal was formalised at a special signing ceremony overseen by US President Donald Trump.

The Saudi agenda remains unclear, but for now at least, it is largely believed that they are standing firmly behind the people of Palestine.

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