In an apparent reference to Iran, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman says the regimes in Saudi Arabia and Occupied Palestinian Territories have “a common enemy” and that they could immediately normalize their relations once the Palestine issue is resolved.
According to Press TV, in an interview with the TIME magazine published on Thursday, the first in line to the Saudi throne spoke of the prospect of Riyadh-Tel Aviv relations, describing the regime’s conflict with the Palestinians as the only obstacle to the normalization of ties with Israel.
“We have a common enemy, and it seems that we have a lot of potential areas to have economic cooperation,” the crown prince said.
The remarks come days after bin Salman, in an interview with the Atlantic, attempted to put Israeli and Palestinian land claims on an equal footing in a dramatic shift in Riyadh’s long-held position on Palestine, saying Israelis, like Palestinians, have the “right” to have “their own homeland.”
That interview stirred so much controversy among the defenders of the Palestinian cause that apparently forced the prince’s father, Saudi King Salman, to reaffirm support for the Palestinians and their “legitimate rights” to an independent state in a phone call with US President Donald Trump.
Bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto Leader, repeated the same stance in his remarks to TIME and said both Israelis and Palestinians “have the right to live and coexist.”
Saudi Arabia has been the main sponsor of the Arab Peace Initiative, which envisions a so-called two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
However, prior to bin Salman, no senior Saudi official had publicly accepted that Zionist regime has a right to any land.
“We cannot have relations with Israel before solving the peace issue with the Palestinians,” but “when it happens, of course next day we’ll have good and normal relations with Israel and it will be in the best for everyone,” he stated.
Saudi Arabia does not officially recognize Zionist regime and has no formal ties with the regime. However, the two sides have been widely reported to have cooperated secretly for years.
The warming of Riyadh-Tel Aviv relations has gathered pace since June 2017, when bin Salman became the crown prince.
In recent months, the kingdom has been gradually softening its public posture toward Israel in what analysts describe as an attempt by Riyadh to prepare public opinion at home and elsewhere for potential normal relations with Zionist regime.