update desk

Netanyahu and Saudi crown prince talk normalization

Riyadh wants the Palestinian Authority to gain security powers in Judea, Samaria, the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spoken by phone with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss normalization between the two countries, officials said Monday.

The talks come amid an intensive diplomatic push to normalize ties by the end of the year.

The phone diplomacy, which was first reported by Israel’s Channel 12, was carried out with the coordination of Bahraini interlocutors, even though Israel prefers U.S. mediation efforts.

According to the television report, the Saudis presented a list of demands of Israel in return for normalization including handing certain powers in Judea and Samaria to the Palestinian Authority security services at the expense of the Israeli Defense Forces, and giving the Palestinians security control over the Al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount and at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’s Old City.

The Israeli government is highly unlikely to approve these far-reaching steps.

Prince Mohammed, commonly known as MBS, turned down a proposal by Netanyahu to meet in person, the officials said.

Israeli officials said that complex negotiations will continue over the next weeks, after which it will become clear whether a deal is attainable.

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen has also been in phone contact with the Saudi leader.

The normalization talks come as an agreement to allow direct flights between Israel and Saudi Arabia for Muslims undertaking the pilgrimage to Mecca is expected to be announced next month.

Israel has issued a formal request for the flights and is awaiting the Saudi response, Cohen said earlier in May.

Israel’s top diplomat said this weekend that normalization with Saudi Arabia could happen within six months.

You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war. JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you. The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support? Every contribution, big or small, helps JNS.org remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates