The former Saudi diplomat Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud gave an interview last month to Israeli Channel 13 and warned the Trump administration not to come up with a peace plan that doesn’t include withdrawal by Israel from occupied Palestinian territories. And Netanyahu is deceiving Israelis to think that they can make peace with the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia without doing so.
Asked if he had advice for Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt on rolling out Trump’s peace plan for the Middle East, Prince Turki said:
The Arab Peace initiative– take it on, make it yours.
He described the initiative of 2002 from the late King Abdullah as a great opportunity for Israel, never seized upon.
Basically it’s a quid pro quo. Israel withdraws from occupied Arab territories in return for Arab recognition of Israel, end of hostilities and normal relations. From day one, there has not been an Israeli response. With Israeli money and Saudi brains we can go far. Yes– if there is peace. But unfortunately Israel chooses to ignore all the efforts of Saudi Arabia to make peace. And expects Saudi Arabia to put its hand in its hand and go forward on technology, on water desalination on issues like that. It’s not going to happen.
The prince said he spoke for himself, but told Channel 13’s Barak Ravid that he had checked in with the government before traveling to London and added: “We have to get our point across directly to the Israeli people. Your channel I understand is one of the foremost media outlets that are watched and respected by Israeli public opinion.”
Ravid asked the prince if he thought Benjamin Netanyahu was deceiving the Israeli people when he says that Israel has warming relations with Gulf States and Saudi Arabia.
“Absolutely,” he responded.
Israeli public opinion should not be deceived into believing that the Palestinian issue is a dead issue. From the Israeli point of view, Mr Netanyahu would like us to have a relationship and then we can fix the Palestinian issue. From the Saudi point of view it’s the other way around.
He went on that Saudis “have a very negative view of Mr. Netanyahu because of what is happening on the ground and the hubristic attitude that he has…”
We don’t need Mr. Netanyahu to tell us the dangers that Iran poses. We see it on the ground. We see their activities in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain, even Saudi Arabia. Why should we wait for Netanyahu to highlight these things.
Saudi Arabia has conducted what many call a genocide in Yemen over the last four years, with the help of the United States.
Asked if we will witness a meeting between Saudi and Israeli leaders, again Prince Turki highlighted the Palestinian issue.
In my lifetime, and there is very little of it left to come, I don’t think I’m going to see that, not before the Palestinian issue is resolved. I am looking for an Israeli peace initiative. I haven’t seen one. What is it that Israel thinks will make peace?
I [would like to] visit what I consider to be not only a holy place, but a place of my history as an Arab and as a Muslim… Jerusalem is something I want to see before I die, and unfortunately I’m not too optimistic that i’m going to see that.
Turki, the former intelligence chief of the country, has lately stonewalled on the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.
The interview above was published February 14, but has gotten recent pickup on twitter.