Saudi Arabia says Israelis can’t visit kingdom until peace is achieved

Prince Faisal bin Farhan

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister has said Israeli citizens are still not allowed to enter the country despite Tel Aviv giving the green light for its citizens to visit the Arab kingdom. 

But Prince Faisal bin Farhan told CNN on Monday that this situation could change if the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is resolved.

He said: “Our policy remains the same. We do not have relations with the state of Israel and Israeli passport holders cannot at this time visit the kingdom…

“We are very supportive of a peaceful resolution to the conflict and once there is a peace deal between the Palestinians and the Israelis I think the integration of Israel into the regional context will be very much on the table and .. in a proposal for the Arab peace treaty, included in that was complete normalisation with Israel once peace is achieved.”

Like most Arab countries, Saudi Arabia does not have diplomatic relations with Israel although in recent years it has established low-level relations with the Zionist regime.

It is also widely believed that secret high-level contacts have been going on for some time now.

On Sunday, Israel’s Minister of the Interior, Aryeh Deri, said said Israeli citizens have the right to travel to Saudi Arabia for religious and business visits.

Deri said Israelis would be allowed to travel to Saudi Arabia under two circumstances: for religious reasons such as a pilgrimage for Umrah or Hajj, or for up to 90 days for business reasons.

Israel has peace deals with only two Arab countries – Jordan and Egypt – but its occupation of Palestinian territory has long served as a major factor preventing similar accords with the rest of the Arab world.

Israel has, however, been seeking to build ties with Gulf nations in recent months, based on a mutual antipathy towards Iran.

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