Saudi princes are split over peace deal recognising Israel as Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman ‘favours closer ties’ with historic enemy
- Saudi Arabia’s ruling princes split over whether sign a peace deal with Israel
- Israel is now recognised by countries including the UAE, Bahrain and Morroco
- Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is said to be in favour of signing a deal
- His cousin criticised Israel as the Middle East’s ‘last western colonising power
Saudi princes are split over a peace deal that would recognise Israel as Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is said to favour closer ties with the country’s historic enemy.
Nearby countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco have all recognised Israel as a county.
So far Saudi Arabia has not followed suit, but talks are between the two countries are thought to have happened as recently as November.
Israeli state media said prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to the Gulf kingdom to meet with Mohammed bin Salman last month, but Saudi Arabia denied the claim.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is said to be open to recognising Israel, prompting criticism from his cousin
The Crown Prince is said to be open to a deal, but it has invoked open criticism from his cousin, Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former head of intelligence.
Speaking earlier this month, Prince Turki described the country as the ‘last western colonising power in the Middle East,’ adding: ‘It is Israel that has occupied neighbouring Arab lands, not the reverse.’
He accused Israel of depicting itself as a ‘small, existentially threatened country, surrounded by bloodthirsty killers who want to eradicate her from existence’.
‘And yet they profess that they want to be friends with Saudi Arabia,’ he said.
He also outlined a history of forcible eviction of Palestinians and destroyed villages.
Prince Turki al-Faisal has been vocal in his opposition to recognising Israel, describing it as the ‘last western colonising power in the Middle East’
Palestinians were held ‘in concentration camps under the flimsiest of security accusations – young and old, women and men, who are rotting there without recourse to justice,’ he said.
Prince Turki made the comments alongside Israeli and Bahraini foreign ministers.
The Arab Peace initiative, negotiated in 2002, states that the Arab League will recognise Israel if a Palestinian state is established.
Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is thought to have flown to Saudi Arabia last months amid growing talks between the countries
Deals dubbed the Abraham Accords, helped over the line by the Trump administration, helped normalise relations between between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain.
The deal was welcomed in the US, as it looked to unite its allies in the Middle East while tensions grow with Iran.
Tensions are said to be growing between Saudi Arabia and Palestine, as another senior royal cousin, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, said: ‘We are at our limits with those people.
Trump’s administration helped to secure the Abraham Accords, which saw Bahrain and the UAE formally recognise Israel. The outgoing US president is pictured with Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani, and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan
When asked if he had travelled to Saudi Arabia, Netanyahu said: ‘Are you serious? Friends, throughout my years I have never commented on such things and I don’t intend to start doing so now.’
But Yoav Gallant, a member of Netanyahu’s security cabinet, told Army Radio: ‘The very fact the meeting happened, and was outed publicly, even if half-officially right now, is a matter of great importance.’
Israeli defence minister Benny Gantz, in a speech, condemned ‘the irresponsible leak of the secret flight to Saudi Arabia’.