According to a report by Ynet News, the Saudis have selected their first ambassador to the Palestinians, who will currently stay in Jordan, in what appears to be a hint to Saudi demands in the developing peace pact with Israel.
Naif bin Bandar Al-Sudairi, the Saudi ambassador to Jordan, was appointed the country’s first-ever ambassador to the Palestinian Authority and consul general in Jerusalem after submitting his credentials to Majdi al-Khalidi, Mahmoud Abbas’s adviser on diplomatic matters.
Al-Khalidi expressed his appreciation for the appointment and noted that “this significant step will strengthen the robust and solid brotherly ties binding the two countries.”
Al-Sadiri will continue to serve as Jordan’s ambassador and represent the Palestinian Authority in a non-resident capacity.
The nomination of Al-Sadiri coincides with recent reports about the Biden administration’s initiative to normalize relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto leader of Saudi Arabia, is “in no rush” for an agreement, in part because Israel’s coalition government, which opposes an independent Palestinian state, is “conditioning” such an agreement on “significant steps from Israel toward the Palestinians.”
Reports suggest that the Saudis will expect “substantial” concessions from the Palestinians in any future accord, potentially promoting the establishment of a Palestinian state, in contrast to recent claims by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Friday night, a senior official in Jerusalem told Ynet that “an agreement with Saudi Arabia is a genuine American interest,” adding that “Washington will make a huge effort; it’s crucial for them in the competition with China over influence in many regions, including the Middle East.
The Jerusalem insider stated, “It’s clear they will ask for big things, and we might have to give something, but it won’t be dramatic, in reference to potential concessions to the Palestinians that might be essential to a future agreement.