Israeli and US officials on Monday denied a report in a Saudi-owned newspaper that Riyadh had frozen normalization talks with Israel because it refuses to make concessions to the Palestinians.
(Bloomberg) — Israeli and US officials on Monday denied a report in a Saudi-owned newspaper that Riyadh had frozen normalization talks with Israel because it refuses to make concessions to the Palestinians.
The report is false, a senior US official said, echoing a similar denial by an aide to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The aide was speaking aboard an airplane carrying the premier to the US for meetings in California and New York.
According to a report in London-based Elaph newspaper, which cited officials in Netanyahu’s office, the US informed Israel of the Saudi position. Elaph said the freezing of talks was due largely to statements by far-right Israeli ministers that Israel will not make concessions to the Palestinians as part of any accord with the Saudis.
The US, Saudi Arabia and Israel are engaged in complex negotiations in which Washington would offer security guarantees to Riyadh, the Saudis would normalize relations with Israel, and Israel would take actions aimed at preserving the possibility of a Palestinian state.
Given the nationalist, right-wing nature of Netanyahu’s governing coalition, it is widely believed that the Palestinian part of the negotiations will be among the most challenging. Netanyahu has repeatedly said that he would take no steps that would endanger Israel’s security.
Netanyahu is due to see US President Joe Biden in New York this week at the opening the United Nations General Assembly. The Saudi normalization process, along with concerns about Iran, are central to their agenda, Netanyahu said in comments before leaving Israel late Sunday.
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