Palestinian officials formally received the kingdom’s first ambassador as Saudi Arabia considers formalizing diplomatic ties with Israel.
Majdi al-Khalidi, the diplomatic advisor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, received a copy of Ambassador Nayef al-Sudairi’s credentials as a non-resident envoy in Jordan on Saturday, according to Palestinian news agency Wafa.
Al-Sudairi, who is now the kingdom’s ambassador to Jordan, will also act as its general consul in Jerusalem.
According to Wafa, Al-Khalidi described the event as “a significant step that will contribute to further strengthening the strong brotherly relations that bind the two countries and the two brotherly peoples.”
In a video broadcast by the Saudi state-affiliated Al-Ekhbariya channel, the Saudi envoy also called the appointment “an important step,” underscoring the desire of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “to strengthen relations with the brothers of the State of Palestine and give it a formal boost in all areas.”
The Saudi Arabian embassy in Amman has often been in charge of the Palestinian Territories file.
The latest position, according to Palestinian analyst Talal Okal, is a step toward opening an official Saudi representation office in the occupied West Bank.
Also conveyed was Saudi Arabia’s commitment to Palestinian rights in a fully independent state, according to Okal.
Push for normalisation
The nomination of the ambassador took place while the US sought to normalize Israeli-Saudi relations.
However, according to US, Israeli, and Saudi officials, such a deal is still a long way off because of a number of complex concerns, such as Saudi nuclear power development and Israeli operations in the occupied West Bank.
Riyadh has stated time and time again that it will adhere to the Arab League’s position of delaying relations with Israel until the Palestinian crisis is addressed.
Still, Riyadh and Washington have recently initiated discussions about Saudi requirements for normalization. These include assurances of security and help with a civilian nuclear program.
“Peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia is a matter of time,” Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen stated on Thursday.
The action on Saturday “gives insight into how diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel might be: a Saudi ambassador to Palestine with a file for Israel,” claims Aziz Alghashian, a Saudi commentator and authority on Saudi-Israeli relations.
“The immediate signal is to treat Saudi demands for Israeli concessions seriously,” Alghashian stated.
The Palestinian Authority hopes to communicate its worries about the normalization drive to Saudi officials, according to Riyad al-Maliki, the foreign minister of the Palestinian Authority, last week.
Source: AL JAZEERA