Sunday, September 17, 2023

Report: Saudis suspending Israel normalization talks over Palestinian issue

Saudi Arabia has reportedly told the Biden administration that it is freezing US-brokered, indirect normalization talks with Israel because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hardline government is unwilling to make any concessions to the Palestinians.

According to the report Sunday in the Saudi-owned Elaph newspaper, citing officials in Netanyahu’s office, the US has informed Israel of the Saudi stance.

It said that Israel was “confused” by the move, believing that the Saudis were prepared to move ahead with normalizing ties without linking it to the progress on the Palestinian issue.

The report by the London-based paper’s Israel correspondent singled out the insistence by far-right ministers Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir that Israel not make any concessions to the Palestinians, adding that without progress with Ramallah, there could be no progress with Riyadh.

Last month, Netanyahu indicated that he was open to gestures to Palestinians if a normalization deal with Saudi Arabia depended on it, and hinted that he would not let coalition members block an agreement. READ MORE