On Thursday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to undermine the prospects for the establishment of a Palestinian state, following talks he held in Saudi Arabia, during which Riyadh stressed linking normalization to peace with the Palestinians.
At the end of his visit to Saudi Arabia, Blinken held phone talks with Netanyahu to discuss “deepening Israel’s integration into the Middle East through normalization with countries in the region,” according to US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller.
Miller said that Blinken “discussed the necessity of fulfilling the pledges made in regional meetings held in Aqaba and Sharm el-Sheikh to avoid measures that undermine the prospects for a two-state solution,” referring to talks held earlier this year in Jordan and Egypt that brought together Israeli, Palestinian and American officials.
On Thursday, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said in an English statement he made with Blinken next to him that normalization with Israel “is in the interest of the region” and would “bring great benefits to everyone.”
“But without peace with the Palestinians, any normalization with Israel will be of limited benefit,” the Saudi foreign minister added.
“We must focus on reaching a path that provides peace, justice and dignity for the Palestinians,” he added.
In a speech delivered this week to AIPAC, the largest support group for Israel in the United States, Blinken said he would seek Saudi Arabia’s recognition of the Jewish state, which is one of Israel’s most important goals given the kingdom’s weight in the region and its role as the custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.
In Netanyahu’s previous term, relations between Israel and the UAE, Morocco and Bahrain were normalized. It is a development that Netanyahu described, similar to the administration of then US President Donald Trump, as the culmination of achievements.
Netanyahu returned to power at the head of a government that is the most right-wing in the history of Israel, which includes opponents of the establishment of a Palestinian state.