Politics & News

Israeli-Saudi Normalization Not To Happen Without Comprehensive peace deal with Palestinians

There are no diplomatic relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the State of Israel. In addition, since its proclamation in 1948, the State of Israel has not been recognized by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Israel’s occupation of Arab lands in Palestine represents the main obstacle to the non-establishment of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel.


In an interview with Reuters, on November 21, 2020, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince HRH Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud announced that his country “supports full normalization with Israel, but a permanent and complete peace agreement that guarantees the Palestinians their state with dignity must first be approved.”

He pointed out that he is confident that the new US administration, headed by Biden, will pursue policies that help maintain regional stability. Moreover, he said that any talks with it would result in greater cooperation.

Both Saudi Arabia and Israel oppose the expansion of Iranian influence in the region. They also oppose Iran’s nuclear program and see it as a threat to the region.

On December 10, 2020, Jared Kushner stated that the normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia is inevitable. This came in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s announcement of a normalization agreement between Morocco and Israel.

On April 1, 2021, Saudi Foreign Minister HRH Faisal bin Farhan stated that the potential normalization of relations with Israel would bring “tremendous benefit” to the region, and added that any agreement with the Kingdom “depends greatly on progress in the peace process.” Saudi Arabia has consistently affirmed the policy that it has adopted for years, which links the normalization of relations with Israel to the settlement of its conflict with the Palestinians.

In May 2022, the Biden administration began quietly mediating between Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Egypt, regarding the start of the normalization of Israeli-Saudi relations. Five American and Israeli sources told the Israeli website Axios that the decision included the transfer of the strategic islands of Tiran and Sanafir to the open sea. Saudi Arabia governs these islands under Egyptian sovereignty. If an agreement is reached, it would be a significant achievement for the Biden administration’s foreign policy in the Middle East.

Sources report that the administration believes that finalizing an arrangement could build trust between the two. This may lead to warm relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, which do not have formal diplomatic relations.

This would be the most significant achievement of US foreign policy in the Middle East since the Abrahamic Accords brokered by the Trump administration. These accords led to normalization agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco.

Saudi Arabia supported the Abrahamic Accords but made it clear at the time that it would not normalize relations with Israel unless there were serious progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Successful negotiations could also reduce tensions between the Biden administration and Saudi Arabia.

Historical background


1948 war

In the 1948 war, King Abdul Aziz led a strong campaign against the American and British governments, holding them responsible for what happened in Palestine. He also ordered the opening of volunteer doors to support the Palestinian people.

He also ordered the dispatch of the Saudi Arabian army, military forces, and a quantity of ammunition and rifles to the revolutionaries in Palestine, and King Farouk awarded medals and medals to several Saudi officers and soldiers in recognition of their heroism and courage in the battles fought by the Saudi army under the banner of the army.

The tripartite aggression against Egypt in 1956

In the 1956 war, King Faisal declared in the Al-Bilad newspaper:

“My fathers and grandfathers lived for decades riding camels and horses and eating dates, and for the sake of Arabism, we are ready to sacrifice everything, even if that leads to a return to the desert on horses and camels. Pride and honor with hunger are better than prosperity with humiliation.”

The Saudi king cut off oil supplies to Britain and France, and all British, French and other ships carrying Saudi oil heading to these two countries were stopped.

The Saudi army moved to Jordan to be close to the field of war, and volunteer offices were opened throughout the kingdom. The king himself supervised the Ministry of Defense, volunteer operations, and the delivery of weapons. He also put ten million dollars in Egyptian banks to increase Egypt’s balance of the local currency. He also bought products in Egyptian dollars, and the severing of relations with France and Britain, which led to an impact on the Kingdom’s resources as result of the oil embargo (in the amount of 300 million dollars annually) and a loss of 50 million dollars as a result of the closure of the Suez Canal.

The oil embargo made Britain and France ask for oil from America, but America refused to sell them oil because it was Kuwaiti oil. Then Britain and France were forced to request oil from NATO, but they were also refused, so Britain and France withdrew from the war quickly.

It hosted Egyptian aircraft in the northwest of the Kingdom and enabled them to survive intense air raids on Egyptian aircraft. The Kingdom placed Vampire jet fighters of the Royal Saudi Air Force at the disposal of the Egyptian leadership.

This squadron participated in the war and implemented what the Egyptian command demanded, and 20 Saudi Vampire planes were destroyed by bombing, and the Saudi aircraft technician Ali Al-Ghamdi was martyred in the bombing, and King Salman, King Fahd, and Prince Muhammad participated in the war.

June 1967 war

In the war of 1967  and the war of attrition, the Saudi army participated in the Jordanian front in the battle of Karama and Ghor Safi, during which many martyrs were sacrificed, including First Lieutenant Rashid bin Amer Al-Ghafili, who was martyred in 1967.

Saudi Arabia also assisted Arab countries whose economies and infrastructures were affected by the war. Saudi Arabia sent 41 million pounds to Egypt and 17 million pounds to Jordan.

October war 1973

In the 1973 war, Saudi Arabia sent 3,000 soldiers, an armored regiment, an artillery battery, the 4th Parachute Regiment, the King Abdulaziz Mechanized Brigade (3 regiments), and self-propelled artillery batteries, in addition to other support weapons, to Syria.

After that, King Faisal decided to ban oil from Western countries that cooperate with Israel, led by the United States of America. This was to force Israel to withdraw from the occupied Arab lands. At the same time, President Richard Nixon sent his Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to King Faisal. This prompted him to abandon his decision to cut off oil from Western countries and reject King Faisal.

Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan said that Saudi Arabia will not normalize relations with Israel unless peace is achieved with the Palestinian people first, commenting on the Emirati-Israeli agreement.

Allowing Israeli flights to cross

On August 31, 2020, Deutsche Welle reported that Saudi Arabia, which has no diplomatic relations with Israel, allowed an Israeli plane to pass over its territory. This was on its way to the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi. A Saudi military general said that according to the international agreements of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), there is nothing to prevent the plane from crossing.

Later, on September 2, 2020, the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation approved a request from the General Authority of Civil Aviation in the United Arab Emirates. This request includes the desire to allow the passage of the Kingdom’s airspace for flights coming to and departing from the United Arab Emirates to all countries.

Saudi Arabia supported the Palestinian people’s right to sovereignty and called for withdrawal from the West Bank and other territories occupied by Israel since 1967.

King Abdullah Initiative 2002

In 2002, King Abdullah, when he was crown prince, proposed the Arab Peace Initiative, aimed at the establishment of an internationally recognized Palestinian state on the 1967 borders. This initiative aimed at the return of refugees, and withdrawal from the occupied Golan Heights, in return for recognition and normalization of relations between Arab countries and Israel. Although several Israeli officials have responded to King Abdullah’s initiative, the Israeli government rejected the initiative.

Saudi spending to support the Palestinians

In 2009, Saudi Arabia strongly opposed the Gaza massacre. King Abdullah called on Israel to immediately stop the attack and grant one billion dollars for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip. He launched an urgent public donation campaign to support the people of Gaza.


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