Saudi Arabia rejects Israel’s West Bank annexation plans

Saudi Arabia rejects Israel’s West Bank annexation plans
Construction workers build new houses in the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba, in the occupied West Bank. (AFP/File)
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Updated 22 May 2020

Saudi Arabia rejects Israel’s West Bank annexation plans

Saudi Arabia rejects Israel’s West Bank annexation plans
  • We oppose anything that hinders peace process to achieve stability, says Saudi Foreign Ministry
  • President Abbas has informed Israelis and Americans of his decision to annul all pacts with them

AMMAN: Saudi Arabia said on Thursday that it rejected Israel’s pledge to annex parts of the occupied Palestinian West Bank.

The Foreign Ministry stressed the Kingdom’s “condemnation of any unilateral decisions and any violation of legitimate international decisions.” 

It said it opposed anything that hinders the peace process to achieve 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.”

Israel’s new coalition government is expected to discuss proposals to annex Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley in the West Bank. 

In response, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he was cutting off all agreements signed with Israel and the US, and had informed those countries of his intentions.

The Israeli threat to annex the land has been widely condemned by both Arab and Western nations. The Vatican said the Israeli move was concerning and could further compromise peace dialogue.

Respect for international law and UN resolutions was an “indispensable element for the two peoples to live side by side,” the Vatican said following talks between chief foreign policy official Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher and Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.

“The Holy See is following the situation closely, and expresses concern about any future actions that could further compromise dialogue,” the Vatican said.

Speaking to a select group of journalists Erekat said that Palestine will happily attend an international conference arranged by Russia. 

“We have been in contact for some time with the quartet which includes Russia and we have been discussing the possibility of a quartet plus meeting that could include Saudi Arabia, UAE, China, and others.”

Erekat said that Palestinians are proud of their relations with the Russians and “we will attend any meeting that they organize on the terms of reference of what has been agreed.” Erekat revealed that the idea of an international conference was also discussed with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who called Abbas on Wednesday.

Erekat noted that the last time security coordination was suspended — by Palestinian President Arafat — Ariel Sharon sent in the tanks to Ramallah, but he said: “We are on our land and we are not going anywhere.”

In reply to a question from Arab News Erekat said: “Former President Obama asked that the state of Palestine refrain from joining 22 international organizations and we agreed on condition that the American president commit in writing about the 1967 borders of the future Palestinians and that the US would not move its embassy to Jerusalem.”