The Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, recognised Israel’s right to exist in an interview published on Monday, and spoke of the prospect of future diplomatic relations between his Kingdom and the Jewish State.
In an interview in the US magazine The Atlantic, Prince Mohammed laid out the possibility of cooperation with Israel.
Asked whether he believes “the 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”.
The news comes after Saudi Arabia last month allowed Air India to fly to and from Tel Aviv via its airspace, an unprecedented development, and the latest sign of improving relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia.
In keeping with the terms of his Kingdom’s regional peace proposal, the Saudi Crown Prince added that an agreement with the Palestinians was a prerequisite to formal relations: “But we have to have a peace agreement to assure the stability for everyone and to have normal relations”.
When asked whether he had any “religious-based objection to the existence of Israel?” the Crown Prince replied: “We have religious concerns about the fate of the holy mosque in Jerusalem and about the rights of the Palestinian people. This is what we have. We don’t have any objection against any other people”.
Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, does not recognise Israel and the two countries have no official relations. Israel has implied at secret ties with Saudi Arabia in recent years, emphasising the two countries share an interest in countering Iran. A Saudi General visited Jerusalem in 2016 and met with Israeli lawmakers, and Saudi officials have met with Israeli officials on several occasions in public.
Debating whether a shared concern over Iran was bringing Israel and Saudi Arabia together, he said: “Israel is a big economy compared to their size and it’s a growing economy, and of course 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 and countries like Egypt and Jordan”.
Click here to read the interview in The Atlantic.