Saudi King to Trump: Palestinian State Is Condition for Normalizing Ties With Israel

In a phone call, Trump welcomes kingdom's decision to open Saudi airspace to Israel-UAE flights

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz attends during a virtual cabinet meeting in Neom, Saudi Arabia August 18, 2020.
Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz attends during a virtual cabinet meeting in Neom, Saudi Arabia August 18, 2020.Credit: SAUDI PRESS AGENCY/ REUTERS

Saudi Arabia’s ruler King Salman bin Abdulaziz told President Donald Trump there would be no normalization with Israel without Palestinian statehood, the kingdom’s state news agency reported on Monday.

The leaders spoke by phone following a historic U.S. brokered accord last month under which the United Arab Emirates agreed to become the third Arab state to normalize ties with Israel after Egypt and Jordan.

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King Salman told Trump he appreciated U.S. efforts to support peace and that Saudi Arabia wanted to see a fair and permanent solution to the Palestinian issue based on the Arab Peace Initiative proposed by the kingdom in 2002.

Under the proposal, Arab nations have offered Israel normalised ties in return for a statehood deal with the Palestinians and full Israeli withdrawal from territory captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

Trump told King Salman that he welcomed the opening of Saudi airspace to flights between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and discussed ways to enhance regional security, a White House spokesman said.

Trump also urged Saudi Arabia to negotiate with other Gulf countries to resolve the rift, spokesman Judd Deere said.

The country's civil aviation authority had granted Abu Dhabi's request to allow airliners "coming from and departing to all countries" and bound for or leaving one of the UAE's airports, to fly over Saudi Arabia, which does not officially recognize Israel.

White House adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner has said he hopes another Arab country normalizes ties with within months. No other Arab state has said so far it is considering following the UAE.

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