Saudi envoy: We still seek normalization with Israel, but not at cost of Palestinian people

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, Prince Khalid bin Bandar Al Saud, tells the BBC that a US-brokered normalization agreement with Israel was “close” right up until Hamas’s murderous rampage across southern Israel on October 7.

“[A deal] was close, there is no question. For us, the final end point definitely included nothing less than an independent state of Palestine. So, while we still — going forward after 7 October — believe in normalization, it does not come at the cost of the Palestinian people,” he says.

“We were close to normalization, therefore close to a Palestinian state. One doesn’t come without the other. The sequencing, how it is managed, that is what was being discussed.”

After meeting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed on Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he had raised the issue of normalization with Israel.

“There’s a clear interest here in pursuing that,” Blinken said. “But it will require that the conflict end in Gaza, and it will also clearly require that there be a practical pathway to a Palestinian state.”

In late September, it appeared that Saudi Arabia was quietly seeking to move ahead with normalization without first securing the establishment of a Palestinian state, three officials familiar with the matter told The Times of Israel at the time.

Most Popular