World News

Saudi Arabia concerned over Israeli moves in East Jerusalem - statement

FILE PHOTO: A general view picture shows part of "Givat Hamatos", an area near East Jerusalem November 15, 2020. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/File Photo

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday voiced “deep concern” over the Israeli authorities’ decision to invite contractor bids to build 1,257 new settlements near East Jerusalem and said it contravened international resolutions.

“The ministry affirms the Kingdom’s condemnation and rejection of the move, which contravenes international resolutions,” it said in a statement.

Israel moved ahead on Sunday with a settler housing plan in the area, a step critics said aimed to shore up the project before U.S. President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan earlier this year signed agreements toward normalizing relations with Israel in a strategic realignment of Middle Eastern countries against Iran.

Riyadh has quietly acquiesced to the UAE and Bahrain deals – though it has stopped short of endorsing them – and has signaled it is not ready to take action itself.

Reporting by Raya Jalabi; editing by Barbara Lewis