Riyadh — Former Saudi Intelligence chief Prince Turki bin Faisal Al-Saud officially clarified about the Saudi-Israeli relations stating that Israelis have to agree on Arab Peace Initiative and stop going around telling falsely about Saudi and Israeli secret engagements.
The Director of RAND’s Center for Global Risk and Security, Andrew Parasiliti wrote a detailed article about the exclusive interview with Prince Turki in Al Monitor.
Al Monitor asked: “Help us understand the evolution in the Saudi position towards the Israeli-Palestinian issue, and where do we go from here? There’s, of course, the 2002 Arab Peace Plan initiated by then Crown Prince Abdullah, but there seems to be more regular contacts between Saudis and Israelis about Iran and other issues. You yourself met with [Israeli Maj.] Gen. Yaakov Amidror, the former national security adviser, and others, and have given interviews to Israeli papers. Has this position enhanced Saudi Arabia’s role as an intermediary, and has the position toward the Palestinians and Palestinian statehood remained constant in this shift in policy?”
Prince Turki replied that, “there has not been a shift in Saudi policy on Palestine, as many times affirmed by King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.”
“If you remember, two years ago, there was an Arab Summit meeting held in Saudi Arabia. King Salman in his opening statement of that summit said that this is the ‘Jerusalem Summit.’ This was following President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”
“Subsequently, in every Cabinet meeting statement that has come out from the kingdom, the kingdom has re-expressed and reinvigorated its support for the Palestinian Authority’s positions vis-a-vis the peace in Palestine.”
“Our commitment to the Arab Peace Initiative is as it was when then Crown Prince Abdullah presented it to the Beirut Summit in 2002 and got all the Arab states to agree to it.”
“My meeting with the Israelis is to convey the message to the Israeli public that this is the case, that they have to deal with the Arab Peace Initiative and not try to go around it by claiming that there are secret engagements between Saudis because of Iran and so on.”
“Without a resolution to the Palestinian problem, there is not going to be any Saudi engagement with Israel, and unfortunately, in the media, particularly in the West, the Israeli effort to claim that there are contacts between Saudis and Israelis is given credibility, whereas they don’t look at the statements coming out of King Salman and the crown prince and our foreign minister over the years as being the true position of Saudi Arabia.”
The Arab Peace Initiative was proposed by late King of Saudi Arabia Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud to reconcile disputes between Palestine and Israel. It involved, recognizing Palestinian borders as of 1967, and East Jerusalem as its capital with both Israel and Palestine peacefully co-existing. Refugees issue was also drafted in the initiative.
However, the Israeli government under Ariel Sharon rejected the initiative as “non-starter”. On the other-side, Iran-backed terrorist group Hamas also rejected the initiative adding further fuel to the Israel-Palestine conflict.