Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia has said that Israel has a “right” to its land in the Middle East. The future King believes they have a right to their homeland which is a shift in Saudi policy. The two countries do not have formal diplomatic relations; however, away from the spotlight, they have been working on their diplomatic relationship which has accelerated in recent years.
The remark regarding Israel’s right to sovereignty is sure to spark controversy in the Middle East with recent clashes on the Gaza border between Palestinians and the Israeli Defence Force around the Jewish holiday of Passover. Saudi Arabia’s future monarch also expressed his support for a two-state solution – one for Palestine and another for Israel.
His Royal Highness commented in an interview with US magazine The Atlantic. He was asked by Jeffrey Goldberg if the “Jewish people have a right to a nation-state in at least part of their ancestral homeland?”
The Crown Prince responded by saying, “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. But we have to have a peace agreement to assure the stability for everyone and to have normal relations.”
He also admitted that he had no problems with the Jewish people of Israel living alongside the Muslim Palestinians. This was with a stipulation, however. His Royal Highness said that the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem must remain protected, “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.”
According to the AFP, no other Saudi leader is believed to have ever made such strong statements of support for Israel and its sovereignty.
Saudi Arabia and Israel have certain foreign policy beliefs in line with one another. As they are both strong allies of the United States, they also see Iran has their biggest threat. The Crown Prince recently likened Iran’s Ayatollah to Adolph Hitler, and Iranian leaders have said that they want to wipe Israel off the map.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is currently in the United States as part of a three-week tour.