Saudi Arabia released a statement on Wednesday rebuking a US comment on the possibility of Israel-Saudi normalization.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the US received “positive feedback” during talks with Saudi Arabia about a normalization deal with Israel. But Riyadh released a statement rejecting his comments and saying the Kingdom would normalize with Israel only if the Palestinians get a state.
“Regarding the discussions between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America on the Arab-Israeli peace process, and in light of what has been attributed to the US National Security [Council] Spokesperson, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs affirms that the position of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has always been steadfast on the Palestinian issue and the necessity that the brotherly Palestinian people obtain their legitimate rights,” the statement reads.
“The Kingdom has communicated its firm position to the US administration that there will be no diplomatic relations with Israel unless an independent Palestinian state is recognized on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, and that the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip stops and all Israeli occupation forces withdraw from the Gaza Strip,” the statement adds.
Saudi Arabia has long held the position that it would only open up diplomatic relations with Israel if there was a two-state solution. Before October 7, reports indicated that Riyadh was willing to concede on that issue as its main priority was getting a defense commitment from the US. But in the wake of October 7 and the brutal Israeli slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza, things appear to have changed for the Saudis.
US officials have floated the idea of a post-war deal that involves Saudi-Israel normalization and the establishment of a Palestinian state. But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said he would not accept a Palestinian state in any future scenario.