Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan told normalization with Israel depended on the formation of a Palestinian state
The landmark Abraham Accords that Israel has struck with two Gulf states are an opportunity for the Palestinians and do not come at their "expense", Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said on Sunday.
The UAE and Bahrain broke decades of Arab consensus with their move, condemned as a "stab in the back" by Palestinian leaders for abandoning the position that there would be no relations with the Jewish state until it made peace with the Palestinians.
But at a regional security conference in Manama, Ashkenazi said that the diplomatic shift could help resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, after talks between the two sides were frozen in 2014.
"The Abraham accords do not come at the expense of the Palestinians. Quite the opposite, they are an opportunity that should not be missed," he said in a virtual address.
"I call on the Palestinians to change their minds and enter direct negotiation with us without preconditions. This is the only way to solve this conflict," he said.
"We believe as Israel moves from annexation to normalization, there is a window to solve this conflict," he said, referring to its agreement to put annexation plans on hold in return for the normalization deal.
The United States, which brokered the Abraham Accords, has been intensively negotiating for more Arab nations to come in board, notably Saudi Arabia, the biggest Gulf power.
But on Saturday, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan told AFP that the kingdom's position remained resolute and normalization with Israel depended on the formation of a Palestinian state.
"We've been quite clear that in order for us to proceed with normalization we will need to see a settlement of the Palestinian dispute and the formation of a viable state of Palestine along the lines envisioned in the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative," he said in Manama.
"Without a settlement between the Palestinians and the Israelis we are not going to see true peace and stability in the region."