After a visit to Saudi Arabia, Blinken raised the issue of a Palestinian state with the Prime Minister of Israel

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Thursday urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to undermine the prospects for a Palestinian state following talks in Saudi Arabia that linked normalization to peace efforts.

Blinken, after wrapping up a visit to a Gulf Arab monarchy that has been criticized by human rights groups, spoke by phone with Netanyahu to discuss “deepening Israel’s integration into the Middle East by normalizing relations with countries in the region,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said.

Blinken “discussed the need to honor the commitments made at the regional meetings in Aqaba and Sharm el-Sheikh to avoid measures that undermine the prospects for a two-state solution,” Miller said, referring to talks earlier this year in Jordan and Egypt, which brought Israeli, Palestinian and American officials together.

Blinken, in a speech this week to a leading US pro-Israel group, said he would work to secure recognition of the Jewish state by Saudi Arabia — a top goal for Israel because of the kingdom’s size and role as guardian of two of Islam’s holiest sites. .

Speaking alongside Blinken on Thursday, Prince Faisal bin Farhan said normalizing relations with Israel “is in the interests of the region” and “would greatly benefit everyone.”

“But without a path to peace for the Palestinian people, without a solution to this problem, any normalization will have limited benefits,” he said.

“So I think we should continue to focus on finding a way to a two-state solution, finding a way to ensure the dignity and justice of the Palestinians.”

Netanyahu, during his last term in office, achieved the normalization of relations in the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Bahrain, which both he and the then US administration of Donald Trump considered the crowning achievement of their achievements.

Israel’s longest-serving prime minister has returned to power, heading the country’s most right-wing government, whose supporters are vehemently opposed to a Palestinian state.

© 2023 AFP