Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz told US President Donald Trump on Sunday there would be no normalization with Israel without Palestinian statehood, Reuters reported, citing the kingdom’s state news agency.
The leaders spoke by phone following the historic US-brokered accord last month under which the United Arab Emirates agreed to become the third Arab state to normalize ties with Israel after Egypt and Jordan.
King Salman told Trump he appreciated US efforts to support peace and that Saudi Arabia wanted to see a fair and permanent solution to the Palestinian issue based on the Arab Peace Initiative proposed by the kingdom in 2002.
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.
US President Donald Trump recently said he expected Saudi Arabia to join the Israel-UAE deal. A senior member of the Saudi royal family later stressed that Saudi Arabia’s price for normalizing relations with Israel is the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.
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.
While Saudi Arabia does not recognize Israel, last week the kingdom said it would allow flights between UAE and Israel, including by Israeli airliners, to use its airspace.