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West Bank: Saudi delegation arrives amid talk of normalisation with Israel

'I am proud to be here today presenting my credentials to you as ambassador on behalf of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to the State of Palestine', says Nayef Bin Bandar Al-Sudairi, Saudi ambassador to Palestine

September 26, 2023 at 2:43 pm

A delegation from Saudi Arabia arrived in the occupied West Bank this morning amid talk that the Kingdom is on the verge of normalising relations with the apartheid state of Israel. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the delegation was led by the non-resident envoy to the Palestinian territories, Nayef Al-Sudairi.

Following his arrival in Ramallah, Al-Sudairi, who is a cousin of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, presented his credentials to the Palestinian Authority Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, Riyad Al-Maliki.

Al-Sudairi expressed his country’s commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. “Saudi Arabia has great interest in the Palestinian issue and its solution on the basis of international legitimacy,” the ambassador added. Arab48 reported him as emphasising that, “Any peace process [normalisation with Israel] will have the [2002] Arab Peace Initiative as its main pillar.”

OPINION: Saudi-Israel normalisation seeks the complete surrender of the Palestinians

When asked by the media about the potential reopening of the Saudi Consulate in Jerusalem, Al-Sudairi responded, “We hope so.” He noted that the Kingdom had previously had a consulate in Sheikh Jarrah in Jerusalem.

“The Saudi ambassador’s visit to Palestine reflects the development of bilateral relations and the great interest of the leadership of the two countries,” said Al-Maliki. “We welcome the Saudi ambassador to Palestine, and we are ready to begin working to develop relations between the two countries. The Palestinian issue is the central issue for all Arabs, and certainly for Saudi Arabia.”

The visit comes after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said independently last week that efforts are underway to reach an agreement to normalise relations between their countries. However, US officials noted that normalisation is still a long way off because it is expected to include a defence agreement with Washington and a civilian nuclear programme for Saudi Arabia.

OPINION: Saudi Arabia does not care about Palestine or Jerusalem; it cares about Israel