A former Saudi intelligence chief and ex-ambassador to the US has given an unprecedented interview to an Israeli TV channel that was broadcast just hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the Omani foreign minister in Poland to discuss “a new era for the Middle East.”
In an interview with Israel’s Channel 13 news, Saudi Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud said that Saudi Arabia and the Zionist entity have the funds and political means to work together provided that they reach a lasting peace first.
“With Israeli money and Saudi brains, we can go far. Yes, if there is peace. Unfortunately. Israel chooses to ignore all the efforts of Saudi Arabia to make peace, expects Saudi Arabia to put its hand on its hand and go forward on technology, on water desalination, on issues like that. It’s not going to happen”, Prince Turki, who served as ambassador to the United States, said.
He further stressed that the Israeli public should not be deceived into thinking that Israeli ties with Arab states could experience a thaw without the Palestinian issue being solved.
“Israeli public opinion should not be deceived into believing that the Palestinian issue is a dead issue. From the Israeli point of view, Mr Netanyahu would like us to have a relationship, and then we can fix the Palestinian issue. From the Saudi point of view, it’s the other way around”.
The prince made a reference to the so-called Arab Peace Initiative, set out by the late Saudi King Abdullah in 2002 that envisaged a quid pro quo approach to the longstanding issue: ‘Israel’ withdraws from occupied Arab territories in exchange for Arab recognition of the Zionist entity, end of hostilities, and normalization of relations.
The 74-year-old prince said he had never been to Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and looked forward “to the day when there is peace between Israel and the Arab world, and I can visit what I consider to be not only a holy place, but a place of my history as an Arab and as a Muslim. […] Jerusalem is something I want to see before I die. Unfortunately, I’m not too optimistic that I’m going to see that”.
When asked whether he anticipated a meeting between an Israeli prime minister and a Saudi king or crown prince in his lifetime, Prince Turki said: “In my lifetime — and there’s very little of it left to come — I don’t think I’m going to see that. Not before the Palestinian issue is resolved. I am looking for an Israeli peace initiative. I haven’t seen one. What is it that Israel thinks will make peace?”