There is a question on the minds of countless people in the Middle East. And the question is, is the Saudi-Israeli peace deal imminent? Because, Saudi rulers are historically known as critics of Israel. But are they finally going to recognize that country?
At one time, Arab media referred to Israel as a Zionist force. But now they are clearly on the path of close alliance. Recently, there is a lot of speculation on social media. This speculation is further intensified by an interview recently broadcast on Saudi-owned al-Arabiya television.
The interview, aired on Al-Arabiya TV, was given by Saudi’s former intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan al-Saud. He was a longtime ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Washington. Prince Bandar has sharply criticized the way Palestinian leaders have criticized some Arab countries for establishing relations with Israel. His interview was broadcast in three episodes.
Prince Bandar said, “We do not expect such a low-level debate from officials who seek worldwide support for their goals.”
“The statements of Palestinian leaders against the leadership of the Gulf states are absolutely unacceptable,” he said.
When the UAE and Bahrain normalized relations with Israel, Palestinian leaders called it “dishonest” and “stabbed in the back.”
Is the promotion of Prince Bandar’s interview a sign?
Prince Bandar was Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Washington for 22 consecutive years. He was so close to former President George W. Bush that many people called him ‘Bandar bin Bush’.
In an interview with al-Arabiya, Prince Bandar highlighted the “historic failure” of the Palestinian leadership. “They assumed that Saudi Arabia would always support us,” he said.
In that interview, he said that the Palestinians’ demands should be justified. But they could not reach a peace agreement in so many years – for which both Israeli and Palestinian leaders should take equal responsibility.
The Palestinian leadership is now divided. The Palestinian Authority is ruling the West Bank. On the other hand, the Islamic movement Hamas has captured power in Gaza. Prince Bandar pointed out that when Palestinian leaders cannot agree on each other, how can they reach an agreement?
A close official of the Saudi royal family said such statements could never be broadcast on the Saudi state-controlled TV channel – unless King Salman and Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved it in advance. To speak out, he has chosen Prince Bandar – a veteran diplomat and staunch supporter of the Saudi royal family.
According to him, this is by far the clearest sign that Saudi Arabia will sign a one-time agreement with Israel. They are preparing the people of this country for this.
Saudi Arabia has “quietly” approved it after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain’s normal relations with Israel. After some time, Prince Bandar gave this interview. It may appear that the leadership of Saudi Arabia is moving rapidly towards an alliance with Israel.
For many years, the Saudis living in remote rural areas of Saudi Arabia were accustomed to see Israel as an enemy, not all Jews, but in particular. In such a reality, Saudi Arabia is in no hurry to follow its Gulf neighbors. But apparently they are trying to turn people towards Israel.
Saddam Hussein disaster
The history of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries with Palestinians is quite complex. The governments of the Gulf states have endorsed the Palestinian issue politically and economically for decades. But when Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat held a meeting with President Saddam Hussein after the Iraq invasion and occupation of Kuwait in 1990, he felt deeply betrayed.
In 1991, Kuwait expelled all Palestinians from their country by the US-led Operation Desert Storm. They filled the void and settled thousands of Egyptians in their homeland.
“I went to Kuwait City that year,” BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner said. Even then the country could not cope with this push. I saw a writing on the wall next to an abandoned pizza restaurant. It says, “Jerusalem is the eternal home of the Jews, and I am writing this – a Kuwaiti.”
It took a long time for the old rulers of the region to overcome the “dishonesty” of Yasser Arafat.
She is a Kuwaiti who has played a larger role in healing wounds in the Arab world than many others. Amir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, who died last month at the age of 91 years.
Saudi Arabia’s peace plan
Saudi Arabia has a history of sending a message of peace to Israel. The Arab summit was held in Beirut in March 2002. Was a thin, bald gentleman; Which in turn was explaining something to various people in right English under the name ull Prince Abdullah Shanti Yojana. He is Adele al-Zubair. He is now Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, and was then the Saudi Crown Prince’s foreign affairs adviser.
The plan was the main topic of discussion at the conference that year, and the Arab League unanimously approved it. The key words of that plan were: withdrawal of Israeli occupation from all occupied territories, including the West Bank, Gaza, the Golan Heights, and Lebanon, and in turn the complete normalization of Israel’s relations with the entire Arab world. Assigning East Jerusalem as its capital to the Palestinians. And reaching a reasonable solution to the plight of Palestinian refugees – who were expelled from their ancestral homeland during the Arab-Israeli War of 1948–49. And the Israel of today is created by seizing the lands that were taken from them.
The plan received international support. It also brought Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to the forefront for some time. The historic Arab-Israeli conflict had the opportunity to end forever. But just before the plan was unveiled, Hamas bombed an Israeli hotel in Netanyahu. 30 people were killed and more than 100 were injured. This is where the peace talks ended.
17 years have passed since then. A lot has happened in the Middle East, a lot has changed. But the Palestinians still do not have an independent state. Israeli settlements are being built on Palestinian land in the West Bank – illegal under international law.
Israel has full diplomatic relations with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Jordan and Egypt. Israel has a kind of “quiet peace” relationship with Jordan and Egypt. However, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are increasingly tying up with the occupying power.
Within days of Bahrain and Israel signing the “Abraham Accord” at the White House, it was observed that Manama was the head of Israeli intelligence agencies. He also discussed intelligence cooperation with Iran, a common rival of the two countries.
Riyadh is trying to understand where the wind is?
What is the attitude of the Israeli authorities towards normalizing future relations with Saudi Arabia? How do they see the case? He must have watched the interview given by Rajkumar Bandar with interest – but did not want to comment directly on it. But an Israeli embassy official in London said: “We hope that many more countries will recognize the new reality in the Middle East and join us in establishing an alliance.”
As seen in the past, Saudi Arabia is extremely cautious about any policy changes. They verify this before taking action and proceed at a slow pace. But that tradition has been drastically changed as Yuvraj Mohammed bin Salman, popularly known as MBS, appeared on stage. Girls are now driving in the country, public entertainment has started, and the door of tourism is slowly opening. So the Saudi-Israeli peace deal may not be ‘imminent’, but there is no doubt that it is now a ‘real possibility’. Source: BBC