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A Waste Of Efforts In West Asia?

Saudi Arabia and Israel, popularly known as two belligerent neighbours in West Asia, have taken initiatives to normalise their ties!

Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, the Saudi Foreign Minister, has confirmed the news, saying that normalisation of bilateral relations would certainly bring tremendous benefits in near future. At the same time, he has admitted that everything depends on the ongoing peace process. “A potential deal depends to a large extent on the progress of the peace process,” he stated.

Talking to the local media in Riyadh a couple of days ago, the Minister took care to mention that cordial ties between the two regional powers would help maintain peace and stability in West Asia. “The normalisation of Israel’s status within the region would bring tremendous benefits to the region as a whole,” he told the press. “It would be extremely helpful economically, socially and from a security perspective,” added Al Saud. Meanwhile, he did not forget to mention that long-lasting peace would be possible only if Israel delivered a Palestinian State within 1967 borders!

Saudi FM Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud

It may be noted that Saudi Arabia had issued similar statement in the past. In December 2020, Saudi Prince Faisal bin Salman Al Saud had stressed: “What we need to make happen is a peace deal that delivers a Palestinian State with dignity and with a workable sovereignty that Palestinians can accept.” Prince Faisal had further said that the normalisation of ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel has long been part of Riyadh’s vision, as the Kingdom envisaged the move in exchange for the creation of a Palestinian State within the 1967 borderlines.

Apart from Saudi Arabia, other countries in the region have also started holding Peace Talks with Israel. In September 2020, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed the Abraham Accords in an attempt to normalise ties with Israel. Later, Sudan and Morocco, too, did the same. Egypt was the first Islamic Nation to recognise Israel way back in 1979, while Jordan established diplomatic ties with the Jewish State in 1994.

In 2020, then US President Donald Trump brokered agreements between Israel and Palestine that included a freeze by Israel on planned annexation of Palestinian Territories. The Palestinian officials condemned the move as “a stab in the back of the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian People”. A Two-State Solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, actually, reflects the Arab Peace Initiative proposed by Riyadh in 2002. Riyadh claimed that the initiative would not only normalise Israel’s relations with Palestine, but also with other Arab Nations mainly because of the full withdrawal by Israel from lands occupied by it in the 1967 war, including Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Meanwhile, Political Experts have expressed doubt over the success of the Saudi attempt to maintain cordial ties with Israel, claiming that it might as well be a Platonic Friendship! It seems that decades-old rivalry between these two Regional Powers will play a spoilsport…

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