Aerial view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Aerial view of Riyadh, Saudi ArabiaiStock

The Palestinian Authority on Saturday expressed relief over Saudi Arabia’s assertion that the kingdom will not normalize its ties with Israel without a Palestinian state.

The PA’s foreign affairs bureau said in a statement quoted by JPost that it “welcomed the sincere positions of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia towards our people and their issues.”

The bureau said it appreciated Saudi Arabia’s “support and assistance for the rights of our people in all forums under the leadership of His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, including the support for the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and the establishment of an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital in accordance with resolutions of international legitimacy and the Arab Peace Initiative.”

The statement came after Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, told Bloomberg TV that an agreement to create a Palestinian state would be a precondition for his country to establish formal diplomatic ties with Israel.

“We have said consistently that we believe normalization with Israel is something that is very much in the interest of the region,” he said, adding, “However, true normalization and true stability will only come through giving the Palestinians hope, through giving the Palestinians dignity.”

“That requires giving the Palestinians a state, and that’s the priority,” stressed the top Saudi diplomat.

Neighbors of the kingdom, including the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, formalized relationships with Israel in 2020 under the US-brokered Abraham Accords.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made clear that his goal is to achieve a peace agreement with Saudi Arabia that would “effectively end the Arab-Israeli conflict.”

However, Saudi officials have repeatedly said that a Palestinian state with eastern Jerusalem as its capital is a prerequisite for Saudi Arabia normalizing ties with Israel, and Prince Faisal’s comments on Thursday are in line with that.

On Wednesday, in remarks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Prince Faisal urged Israel's new government to engage seriously on resolving the conflict with the Palestinian Authority.