Saudi Arabia condemns Israeli plans for annexation in West Bank
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Saudi Arabia condemns Israeli plans for annexation in West Bank

Kingdom says move could prevent resumption of peace talks and undermine regional security, reiterates its ‘steadfast stance toward the brotherly Palestinian people’

Saudi King Salman, right, receives Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas after he arrives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, December 20, 2017. (Al-Ekhbariya via AP)
Saudi King Salman, right, receives Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas after he arrives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, December 20, 2017. (Al-Ekhbariya via AP)

Saudi Arabia on Thursday voiced its opposition to the new Israeli government’s plans to annex parts of the West Bank.

In a statement quoted by Saudi-owned broadcaster Al Arabiya, the country’s foreign ministry said it rejects unilateral moves and any violations of UN Security Council resolutions, as they could prevent the resumption of peace talks and undermine regional security.

The statement stressed the “Kingdom’s steadfast stance toward the brotherly Palestinian people, and support for its choices, and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

It also voiced “support for efforts to advance negotiations in accordance with the international laws, to reach a just and comprehensive solution that meets the aspirations of the Palestinian brotherly people.”

Saudi Arabia has long championed the Arab Peace Initiative, a 2002 proposal that would see Arab states recognize Israel in exchange for a Palestinian state in the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip — with agreed upon land swaps — and a capital in East Jerusalem.

Soccer fans stand beneath a large banner depicting Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz (C) and his son Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (R) as they attend the World Cup 2022 Asian qualifying match between Palestine and Saudi Arabia in the town of al-Ram in the West Bank on October 15, 2019. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

US President Donald Trump’s peace plan, under which Israel is seeking to annex settlements and the Jordan Valley, envisions some 30 percent of the West Bank coming under Israeli sovereignty.

The statement added to a growing chorus of states condemning Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s vow to move forward with annexation, including the Saudi-allied United Arab Emirates.

Clandestine relations have increased in recent years between Jerusalem and Riyadh, focused mainly on security issues, especially given the mutual enmity to Iran.

However, Saudi King Salman has remained a vocal supporter of the Palestinians and last year convened an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to condemn a vow by Netanyahu to annex the Jordan Valley and other parts of the West Bank.

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