Saudi Arabia has warned Israel about its threats to annex parts of the Palestinian territory in the West Bank. This is the second time Saudi Arabia has slammed Israeli plans for annexation. Saudi Arabia added stern warnings to their statement from last month condemning Israel’s threats as the Saudi Foreign Minister now gave a detailed response at the OIC.
The Kingdom’s policy – has been – and remains in support of the Palestinian PeopleSaudi Arabia’s reaction to Donald Trump’s Peace Plan
The move was praised by the Palestinian Authority who thanked Saudi Arabia for their statement which read that Saudi Arabia “reaffirmed today their unwavering positions toward the Palestinian issue, rejecting in a statement Israel’s plans to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank.”
The Saudi Foreign Minister then gave a stern warning to Israel, saying their annexation threat was “blatant challenge to international norms, laws, treaties, conventions and resolutions, and does not take into consideration the rights of the Palestinian people”.
He went on to suggest such moves would not be tolerated by Saudi Arabia saying it “threatens the chances of resuming the peace process” which suggested that Saudi Arabia could lead the Muslim nations in leaving peace talks, if the annexation goes ahead, taking options of peace with Israel off the table.
Last month Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he intends to extend Israeli sovereignty to the Palestinian West Bank, which Israel has occupied since 1967. Saudi Arabia was one of the first countries to reject Netanyahu’s threats in May and released a statement saying that Saudi Arabia “denounces any unilateral actions, and any violations of internationally sanctioned resolutions or any measures that might undermine the chances of resuming the peace process to achieve security and stability in the region”
“(The Kingdom continued to) support the Palestinians and their choices, as well as their right to establish their own independent state.”Statement from Saudi Arabia last month
Last week the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said “Continued Israeli talk of annexing Palestinian lands must stop” which followed up from comments by the UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation a month before who said about the the annexation plan “is illegal, undermines opportunities for peace, and contradicts all efforts made by the international community to reach a lasting political solution in accordance with relevant international resolutions”
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held an emergency meeting on Wednesday to discuss Israel’s threat and to reaffirm support for Palestine.
OIC Secretary General, Yousef Bin Al-Othaimeen, rejected all Israeli policies aimed at changing the demographic nature of the Palestinian territories and said he calls on the international community to “hold Israel accountable for its continued violations and to provide protection to the Palestinian people.”
The Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, spoke at the OIC and said the plan was “a dangerous escalation that threatens the chances of resuming the peace process to achieve security and stability in the region”
He went on to explain the OIC stance “We call for the Arab-Israeli conflict to be resolved in accordance with the relevant international resolutions, international law, and the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002”
“(The annexation plan is) a blatant challenge to international norms, laws, treaties, conventions and resolutions”Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan
Israel has not discussed options for peace for many years. President Donald Trump’s Peace Plan for Israel and Palestine which he described as a “deal of a century” was the first time Israel had returned to peace talks. While Israel’s return to the peace talks was welcomed, the deal itself was rejected by almost all Muslim nations.
Saudi Arabia was among the first nations to reject President Trumps peace plan citing the fact Palestinians had not been consulted when it was written. At the time in 2017, Saudi Arabia reaffirmed its support for Palestine saying “The Kingdom’s policy – has been – and remains in support of the Palestinian People, and this has been communicated to the US Administration”
For now the prospects of peace for Israel with its neighbours looks slim. Saudi Arabia has never recognised Israel as a state and has no ties in any capacity with Israel, so much so that travel (unless for Hajj or Umrah for Palestinians) is banned between the nations.
Saudi Arabia, Palestine and Israel History
In 1947 Saudi Arabia voted against the formation of Israel and sent troops to fight Israel in 1948 and 1973. In 2002 King Abdullah consulted the Muslim world’s leaders and put forward a multilateral peace plan supported by the Muslim world.
Defence of Arab and Islamic causes – at the top of which is the legitimate right of the Palestinians to a state, with Jerusalem as its capital, will remain at the top of Saudi Arabia’s priorityKing Salman in one of his first major speeches after becoming King
The 2002 plan offers a two state solution with the borders of Israel and Palestine based on the pre-1967 borders, meaning Israel would end its occupation of Palestinian territories. If accepted, most Muslim nations had agreed to recognise Israel and form economic ties. Israel rejected the plan. King Abdullah offered the Muslim world’s hand to peace again in 2007 with the same plan which was rejected by Israel for being in favour of the Palestinians, as Israelis would have to move out of illegal settlements.
By 2002 Saudi Arabia had given Palestine somewhere over 20 Billion Saudi Riyals ($5Billon) followed by another 2 Billion Saudi Riyals given in 2002. That number rises every year and Saudi Arabia is one of only a few countries to continue to contribute to Gaza after the election of Hamas. Some donations have been through the Arab League, such as in 2007 when it pledged 3 Billion Saudi Riyals to Palestinians. In May 2020 Saudi Arabia donated 10 Million Saudi Riyals to help Palestinians fight the Coronavirus Covid-19.
When King Salman was the Governor of Riyadh in 1994, he set up a committee to help Palestinians. He was able to help the Palestinians to the tune of 300 Million Saudi Riyals during his time as Governor.
Two months after he was crowned, King Salman gave one of his first major speeches to his people in which he stated that a Palestinian State is his greatest priority. He said “Defence of Arab and Islamic causes – at the top of which is the legitimate right of the Palestinians to a state, with Jerusalem as its capital, will remain at the top of Saudi Arabia’s priority”