While rumors abound over alleged progress in US-Saudi talks on a possible deal for normalization with Israel, Saudi Arabia has clearly demonstrated its engagement with Ramallah, rather than Jerusalem.
Riyadh’s Ambassdor to Jordan, Nayef al-Sudairi presented his credentials this weekend to serve as a Saudi Arabia’s first “non-resident ambassador” to the Palestinian Authority, and as a “non-resident consul general” to Jerusalem, a stark indication that Saudi Arabia supports Ramallah’s claims to the Israeli capital.
Because al-Sudairi will not be in residence and there will be no formal diplomatic mission to Jerusalem, Israeli government approval is not required — a neat way to sidestep Israeli sovereignty over the holy city.
Al-Sudairi presented his credentials to Majdi al-Khalidi, who serves as diplomatic adviser to the Palestinian Authority’s 87-year-old leader, Mahmoud Abbas in a ceremony held at the Palestinian Authority’s “embassy” in Amman.
“This important step will contribute to strengthening the strong and solid brotherly relations that bind the two countries and the two brotherly peoples,” Khalidi said in a statement that underscored the Palestinian Authority’s thanks to Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman, known as “MBS” has said he is not ready to fully normalize diplomatic ties with Israel – not a new stance for Riyadh. The crown prince’s father, King Salman, has long maintained opposition to any agreement with Israel without the establishment of a Palestinian Authority state along the borders that existed prior to the 1967 Six Day War.