Israel, US Deny Saudi News Outlet Report Of Freeze On Peace Talks Until Progress With Palestinians


JERUSALEM (VINnews) — Israel denied reports by a Saudi-owned newspaper which claimed Sunday that the Saudi leadership has told the Biden administration it is freezing US-brokered efforts to normalize relations with Israel because the Netanyahu government is unwilling to make any concessions to the Palestinians.

Both Israeli and American officials denied the report from the Elaph news outlet claiming that Israeli officials had been told by the US that Riyadh was suspending the peace talks, explaining that the “extremist” nature of Israel’s current government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “torpedoing any possibility of rapprochement with the Palestinians, and thus with the Saudis,” as per Elaph.

Israel was reportedly “confused” by the move according to Elaph, as it believed that the Saudis were prepared to move ahead irrespective of progress on the Palestinian issue.

The report by the London-based paper’s Israel correspondent mentioned the insistence by  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.

“Do I think it’s feasible to have that, and do I think that political questions will block it? I doubt it,” Netanyahu told Bloomberg News. “If there’s political will, there will be a political way to achieve normalization and a formal peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen also said at the time that “The Palestinian issue will not be an obstacle to peace,” Cohen said.

“We also proved this in the Abraham Accords. We all have an interest in improving life in the areas of the Palestinian Authority.”

However there has been no willingness for concessions from Smotrich or Ben-Gvir, who have repeatedly reiterated that they would not accept any such concessions.

In recent weeks the Saudis have stepped up their engagement with Palestinians, and the report may be viewed as a political spin designed to pressure the Netanyahu government’s right wing into offering some form of concessions to the Palestinians, thus enabling the Saudis to save face with the Palestinians while establishing relations with Israel.

Saudi Arabia will be co-hosting an event on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly this week focused on revamping the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, three UN diplomats told The Times of Israel on Thursday.

The event, titled “Peace Day Effort for Middle East Peace,” will take place on Monday and is being put on by Saudi Arabia along with the Arab League and the European Union in cooperation with Egypt and Jordan, one of the diplomats said. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will be the keynote speaker.

Neither the Israeli nor the Palestinian missions were invited to the event, the UN diplomat said, explaining that it is focused on congregating important global stakeholders on the issue in order to “reinvigorate” the peace process.

Two weeks ago, Riyadh hosted a Palestinian Authority delegation to discuss how to leverage a normalization deal to advance the Palestinian cause.

Saudi leaders assured the delegation that Riyadh “will not abandon” the Palestinian cause, even as it discusses normalizing ties with Israel, a US and an Arab official told The Times of Israel last week. This message was passed along in multiple meetings between the Palestinian Authority delegation and senior Saudi officials, including Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan, the US and the Arab official said.

The Arab official explained that Saudi Arabia has made clear to Ramallah that it is prepared to depart from its long-held public stance against normalizing ties with Israel absent an actualized two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that the PA has come to terms with this development and accordingly is asking for measures that fall short of immediate statehood.

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8 days ago

Israel would be beyond stupid to even consider a deal during the OBiden regime

Educated Archy
Educated Archy
9 days ago

Trump was able to pull off the Abraham accords without any concessions. That was the beauty. I bet this is partially bidens doing

9 days ago

The Saudis are not stupid & they are also (expert) Chazerim. They know that once they sign a deal with Israel there’s no going back to get more. So with the U.S. govt as weak as it is they’re gonna play every game they can to squeeze more & more out of the U.S.
That’s all that’s going on here.
They could care less about the Palestinians. It’s all a show to get more concessions that will benefit them.

8 days ago

If Trump was president the Saudis would already have signed a peace treaty with Israel, it’s all Biden & company fold who aren’t capable of anything positive

8 days ago

No no no. Biden is the strongest most successful President in our nation’s history!