The crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Bin Salman, recently agreed “Israel has a right to a homeland” while being interviewed for an American news magazine.
The statement by the de facto leader of Saudi Arabia is a huge shift in the kingdom’s stance on the long standing conflict between Israel and Palestine.
Saudi Arabia does not recognize Israel and has no formal diplomatic relations with the nation, however, rumors of the two-nations mending severed ties have accelerated in recent years. The statement by the crown prince only solidifies Saudi Arabia’s intentions of cooperating with the Israeli government as they prepare to face their common nemesis in Iran.
Both countries consider the United States their biggest ally in order to stop the looming nuclear threat from Iran.
“There are a lot of interests we share with Israel and if there is peace, there would be a lot of interest between Israel and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries”, Prince Mohammed added.
However, no Saudi ruler has accepted Israel has a right to a nation-state before. In the interview when the Saudi leader was asked if “Jewish people have a right to a nation-state in at least part of their ancestral homeland?" he replied, “I believe that each people, anywhere, has a right to live in their peaceful nation.”
"I believe the Palestinians and the Israelis have the right to have their own land, but we have to have a peace agreement to assure the stability for everyone and to have normal relations,” he continued.
Saudi Arabia— the long-standing custodian of Islam’s holiest shrines— has been an avid sponsor of two state solution for the Palestine-Israel conflict.
If, rather when, the prince succeeds his father to the Saudi throne, he will also land the responsibility of protecting Islam’s sanctuaries but the prince elaborated that he had “no religious objection” to Israelis living alongside Palestinians as long as the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem is safe.
“We have religious concerns about the fate of the holy mosque in Jerusalem and about the rights of the Palestinian people," he said. “This is what we have. We don't have any objection against any other people."
The Israel-Palestinian conflict has claimed millions of lives over the years and the death toll keeps mounting as Israeli forces retaliate with bullets against unarmed Palestinian protestors at the Gaza border in a brash disregard for human rights.
When asked about the kingdom’s decision to attack Yemen, the prince claimed it was a “matter of national security.”
Thumbnail/Banner Credits:REUTERS/Amir Levy