US and Israeli officials deny Saudi Arabia peace deal in jeopardy

Foreign minister Eli Cohen has insisted the 'Palestinian issue' will not be an obstacle to peace


Israeli and American officials have denied reports that peace talks between Saudi Arabia and Israel are on the rocks.

This week, an article in Elaph - a Saudi Arabian newspaper thought to be close to the country’s ruler, prince Mohammed bin Salman - claimed that officials in the gulf kingdom planned to call off discussions.

Saudi officials reportedly informed their American counterparts that they would call a halt to the peace process over the “extremist” nature of Israel’s coalition government.

The demands of ministers such as Itamir Ben-Gvir and Bazael Smotrich are “torpedoing any possibility of rapprochement with the Palestinians, and thus with the Saudis," they are said to have informed the US.

American and Israeli officials swiftly denied the report, however.

Writing on X/Twitter, America’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs said: "The United States remains committed to furthering Israel's regional integration, including through active diplomacy aimed at Israel-Saudi normalization. 

“Talks are ongoing, and we look forward to further conversations with both parties.”

Speaking to Elaph, Israeli foreign minister Eli Cohen said: “The Palestinian issue will not be an obstacle to peace.

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

Speaking to the podcast Pod Save America, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said any Israeli deal with Saudi Arabia could not overlook the need for a two-state solution. 

“It is also clear from what we hear from the Saudis that if this process is to move forward, the Palestinian piece is going to be very important too,” he claimed. 

“Any of the efforts that are going on to improve relations between Israel and its neighbours can not be a substitute for Israel and the Palestinians resolving their differences and having a much better future for Palestinians. 

“In our judgement that needs to involve a two-state solution.”

Speaking to Bloomberg last month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was open to making some concessions to Palestinians if it would secure peace.

“Do I think it’s feasible to have that, and do I think that political questions will block it? I doubt it,” he said. 

“If there’s political will, there will be a political way to achieve normalisation and a formal peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia… I think there’s enough room to discuss possibilities.”

Following the Abraham Accords, a normalisation deal signed between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain, in 2020, a possible peace treaty between the Jewish state and Saudi Arabia is seen as the white whale of regional diplomacy.

Pushed for by both the Trump and Biden administrations, it would allow both signatories to focus their joint energies on opposing their mutual adversary - Iran.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive