Monday 27 January 2020
I wrote – Iman Mahmoud
In the first Saudi response to Israel’s announcement to allow its citizens to visit the Kingdom, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan said today, Monday, that the Israelis “are not welcome in Saudi Arabia,” adding that relations with Israel depend on reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
Bin Farhan said in an interview with “CNN”: “We strongly encourage a peaceful solution to this conflict, and when a peace agreement is reached between the Palestinians and the Israelis, the issue of Israel’s involvement in its regional environment will be on the table, I think.”
Bin Farhan stressed: “Our policy is fixed, we do not have relations with the State of Israel and the holders of the Israeli passport cannot visit the Kingdom at the present time.”
On Sunday, the occupation authorities announced that they would allow Israeli citizens to visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The Israeli Interior Ministry said in a statement published by “Haaretz” newspaper, that the Minister of the Interior, Aryeh Deri, signed last Wednesday a directive allowing the Israelis to visit Saudi Arabia.
The decision was made in coordination with the Israeli defense establishment, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of the Interior, which said that it would be permitted to travel to Saudi Arabia when it was for religious ritual purposes during Hajj and Umrah, or for a limited business trip of up to 90 days.
The statement pointed out that this remains conditional on this person carrying a suit from a Saudi official, and that there is nothing to prevent this person from entering Saudi Arabia.
Before the decision was signed, citizens of the Israeli citizenship were traveling to Saudi Arabia without an official permit.