Saudi Arabia’s price for normalizing relations with Israel is the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, a senior member of the Saudi royal family reaffirmed on Friday, Reuters reports.
Prince Turki al-Faisal was apparently responding to US President Donald Trump, who said earlier this week he expected Saudi Arabia to join a deal announced last week by Israel and the United Arab Emirates to normalize diplomatic ties.
The historic deal between the UAE and Israel raised speculation that other US-backed Gulf Arab countries might follow. But Prince Turki said Saudi Arabia expected a higher return from Israel.
“Any Arab state that is considering following the UAE should demand in return a price, and it should be an expensive price,” he wrote in the Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Awsat.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has set a price for concluding peace between Israel and the Arabs - it is the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state with Jerusalem as capital, as provided for by the initiative of the late King Abdullah,” he added.
Prince Turki also voiced understanding for the UAE’s decision, noting that Riyadh’s close ally had secured a key condition - a halt to Israeli sovereignty plans.
Trump told reporters on Wednesday he expected Saudi Arabia to join the Israel-UAE agreement, adding, “Countries that you wouldn’t even believe want to come into that deal.”
His comments came hours after Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said his country would not follow the United Arab Emirates until Israel had sealed a peace accord with the Palestinians.
Speaking to reporters on a visit to Berlin, the Saudi Minister said that "peace must be achieved with the Palestinians" on the basis of international agreements as a condition for any normalization of relations with Israel.
"Once that is achieved all things are possible," he said.
Saudi Arabia does not have diplomatic ties with Israel, but there have been rumors in recent years of rapprochement between the two countries. Saudi officials have denied those reports.
Saudi Arabia insists that Israel accept the 2002 Saudi Peace Initiative, which stipulates that 22 Arab countries will normalize ties with Israel in return for an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria.
Israel to date has rejected the 2002 Saudi proposal due to the fact that it calls for Israel to accept the so-called "right of return" for millions of descendants of Arabs who fled pre-state Israel, effectively bringing an end to the Jewish state.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)