Saudi Crown Prince Says Israel Is A ‘Potential Ally’ Not Enemy

Saudi Crown Prince Says Israel Could Be ‘Potential Ally Not Enemy
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman speaks during televised interview in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, April 27, 2021. Picture taken April 27, 2021. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS

In a wide-ranging interview published on Thursday, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said that Saudi Arabia does not see Israel as an enemy but as a potential ally. But some issues need to be resolved before reaching that point, he added.

Saudi Arabia does not have diplomatic relations with Israel but starting in 2020 Gulf allies Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates agreed to normalize relations with the Jewish state.

But the normalization agreement under the US-brokered Abraham Accords has angered Palestinians, who condemned it as a “stab in the back”.

Saudi relations with Israel’s arch-foe Iran are also blamed by the Gulf states and are seen as having created chaos in the region, at the same time being the first signs of improvement with several rounds of talks being held by Iraq.

Responding to the issues regarding Iran, the prince said that Iran is a neighbor forever and it is impossible to get rid of each other so it is better to find a way so that the two countries can coexist.

Saudi Arabia has repeatedly said it will stick to the position of the Arab League, which has not had formal relations with Israel for decades until the conflict with the Palestinians is resolved.

But Prince Mohammed appears to have been more open to Israel than his father, King Salman. This was proven when he allowed an Israeli commercial aircraft to pass through Saudi air space.

Under Prince Mohammed, real social change has been seen in the ultra-conservative Saudi kingdom, with women being allowed to drive for the first time in 2018.

However, in the same year, the killing of Khashoggi by a hit squad at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul caused global rejection and sharp questions for the Young prince.

The 36-year-old de facto leader called the killing a “huge mistake” for which he was unfairly blamed. According to him, the accusation that he ordered the killings hurt him deeply.

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