Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), hinted at potential normalization of ties deal with Israel, saying “Every day we get closer,” in a recent interview with Fox News.
He stated that his country is nearing a potential agreement with Israel, making it the first time he has spoken publicly about it. He further stressed that it seemed like the first real chance they had at it. The United States (US) and Saudi Arabia have also been discussing this development for some time.
Saudi Arabia is home to some of the most important Islamic sites, and its support for Israel would be a major change. Saudi Crown Prince noted that this deal could be as historic as the end of the Cold War.
Saudi Crown Prince said that he hopes for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that benefits Palestinians in return for Saudi Arabia normalizing relations with Israel. However, he did not specifically mention a separate Palestinian state, which has been a long-standing stance of Riyadh.
The majority of Arab and Muslim countries do not officially recognize Israel. In 2002, Saudi Arabia proposed a peace plan that would have normalized relations between Israel and 57 Muslim nations in exchange for Israel’s withdrawal from Palestinian territories and the establishment of a Palestinian state. However, Israel rejected the plan.
MBS stressed that the Palestinian issue cannot be ignored, adding that a solution is needed. He also expressed his hope to see Israel play a greater role in Middle Eastern affairs.
Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is eager to reach a deal with Saudi Arabia, but it is unclear how his political party, which includes some extremists, will respond to any demands that benefit the Palestinians.
For example, some members of his party support expanding Israel’s occupation over territory that the Palestinians rightfully claim for their future state.
Saudi Crown Prince also stated that his country will work with any Israeli leadership, including Benjamin Netanyahu.
When asked what Israel might need to concede in exchange for a deal, the Saudi Crown Prince declined to provide specifics, saying that those details are still being negotiated.