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Advice to Kushner and Greenblatt: Saudis won’t make deal with Israel till it withdraws from Palestinian territories

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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.



Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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21 Responses

  1. JWalters on March 3, 2019, 5:49 pm

    “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. “

    The problem with that proposal from the Israeli point of view is twofold.

    First, Israel would have to give up its real goal of taking all the land of Palestine. Related, it would be giving up the goal of taking the “Greater Israel” land eastward to the Euphrates river, which includes Baghdad and half of Iraq. So having the US invade Iraq will have been a wasted effort.

    Second, and more important, the war profiteers who financed the Zionist invasion of Palestine, with its ensuing religious war, would have to cut short their profitable venture. e.g. “War Profiteer Story”.

    When Israel engages in “discussion” it is merely theater, completely in bad faith, and warfare by treacherous means.

    • Jejasalo on March 4, 2019, 11:11 am

      “…the war profiteers who financed the Zionist invasion of Palestine, with its ensuing religious war…”

      Your voice will be taken much more seriously if your historical facts are correct. The 1948-49 war in Palestine was not a religious war. Religion has been a superficial issue in all of Israel’s wars, including the two Intifadas, though there were elements of religious extremism in the second. Jewish settler extremism was more prevalent in the latter than the fundamentalism of Hamas or Islamic Jihad.

      Israeli and American refusal to resolve the Palestinian issue, even on terms that are extremely good for it, may open the door for a religious war in the future. For now nationality, land, refugees, and resistance to occupation are the main factors perpetuating this catastrophe.

      • JWalters on March 4, 2019, 7:01 pm

        The East European Jews who provided most of the boots on the ground to invade Palestine were religious fanatics who believed they were ushering in the millennium times by re-creating ancient Israel. They were motivated by religious beliefs. They ethnically cleansed the non-Jews, mostly Muslims and Christians, because they were the “wrong” religion. And while many people objected to this on the grounds of Universal Justice, many Muslims were upset at the religion-based attack aimed at their religion. A religious war is especially intractable because unlike dividing land or water, deeply religious people deeply resist compromising on their religion. Hence such a war is especially long-lasting and profitable for its investors. e.g.

  2. Kay24 on March 3, 2019, 8:11 pm

    Kushner, the naive inexperienced “peacemaker” is never going to succeed in his efforts to end this conflict. He is under the illusion that the Palestinians, who have had their aid taken away by the evil dictator Don, and are suffering without human rights and basic needs, with Jerusalem taken off the table, will gratefully accept the crumbs thrown at them, by Israel and Kushner.
    Aren’t starving people supposed to give in to the one sided peace offering?
    The question is will Bin Salman, who has got valuable advice by Kushner on how to deal with the backlash after brutally murdering a journalist, finally throw the Palestinians under the bus, and go along with Kushner’s so called peace offer.

    • Citizen on March 4, 2019, 7:13 am

      Yes, which maybe is why Prince Turki is a former ambassador? I’d bet Kushner told bone saw Bin Salman he needs to get more in the news for pressing progressive programs–not only let the girls drive, but don’t jail their initial chief champions. He’s got a lot of progressive change balls in the air and needs also to do something about that bad PR about genocide coming from Yemen.

      • Kay24 on March 4, 2019, 7:29 pm

        To our point:

        Kushner’s New Ideas for Palestine are Israeli PM Netanyahu’s Old Ones

        Kushner’s new ideas are not different from Netanyahu’s old ones. The inexperienced US president’s son-in-law, with poor charisma, who, as a result of family connections, jumped to the top of the American leadership hierarchy and took over a handful of the most complex foreign policy files (the Palestinian issue and US-Saudi relations) has moved a step ahead in the “deal of the century”, according to his interview with Sky News Arabia in which he said he was getting closer to revealing its details.

  3. vanmet on March 3, 2019, 8:20 pm

    An excellent report, thanks! A very interesting perspective, particularly at this moment.

    Whatever else Saudi leadership is up to, it appears at least some “hear” the people on this issue, or share their common-sense views. Overall the views expressed here support Richard Falk’s observations: genuine power shouldn’t be confused with the publicity and machinations of a few Netanyahu-type politicians, and in the long run will be more decisive.

    • Citizen on March 4, 2019, 7:16 am

      What U say applies to all the Arab regimes. The Arab Street does not think highly of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. Saudi Arabia is running out of oil, and is trying to create an alternative economic base.

      • Misterioso on March 4, 2019, 8:39 am


        “The Arab Street does not think highly of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.”

        Correct!! I know the “Arab Street.” In fact, as it should, the “Arab Street” utterly detests the entity known as “Israel.”

  4. Jejasalo on March 4, 2019, 11:25 am

    Faisal bin Turki is first and foremost a politician and knows neither he nor anyone else in the Saudi regime can openly claim to have made “peace” with the Israeli regime, even when ‘security’ cooperation and regional power struggles have already made Israel, the US, and Saudi Arabia close allies. Keeping up appearances as the region’s dominant Arab state, is what matters.

    Turki’s concern, like that of other leaders in the region, is not to *appear* to have acquiesced to Israeli demands. If there is a country anywhere that makes its policies with little concern for public opinion it is Saudi Arabia.

  5. James Canning on March 4, 2019, 11:50 am

    Very interesting, and I think rather important.

  6. klm90046 on March 4, 2019, 6:36 pm

    This is all eyewash, hogwash and mouthwash. What Palestinians need is a George Washington who will energize them, motivate them, arm them, train them and then lead them through a war of independence. It’s the only way Palestinian land can be regained.

    • Mooser on March 4, 2019, 8:36 pm

      “What Palestinians need…”

      What you need to do is look at a map of Palestine.

      • gamal on March 4, 2019, 10:21 pm

        “What Palestinians need is a George Washington ”

        But Palestinians are Cherries (not Strawberries) bit inappropriate to bring up the Cherry Tree feller.

        “Palestinian Youth Movement: Cherries not Strawberries!!”

        you know two Egyptian dialect, slang really, words have become popular throughout the Arab world, Baltagi or ji, which everyone knows, but also felool, i wrote a paragraph then googled it, it can be rendered as “the scattered remnants of a defeated army” thats us now, it has been a rough spring, wasn’t great at all this year in Araby…summer looks good though and ‘Fall’.

      • klm90046 on March 5, 2019, 4:22 pm

        @Mooser: Just did. What do I do next?

  7. DaBakr on March 4, 2019, 8:40 pm

    Suddenly, pw is giving credence to a KSA official ‘opinion’. who but an idiot would even assume the KSA would ever adopt an official position other then that stated. What PW doesn’t harp on is the cooperation between the two nations that would have been unimaginable years ago. The kingdom, as repressive in many ways as the Iranian mullah regime had not denied its strategic ties with Israel, just that it’s official position is the same as it’s been for over a decade. The Saudis have no great love for Arabs that identify as Palestinian which can also be said of the Iranian regime. it’s all just a bullshit to cover for religious superiority and the inability for (Many) Muslims in the ME to accept Jewish sovereignty over Muslims but feel Muslims should always hold sovereignty over Jews in the middle East. and yet average Muslim Arabs enjoy more political as personal freedom living as Israeli citizens as they do in almost all Muslim/arab regimes. That fact is just starting to make its way more frequently into the typically left leaning msm.

    • Citizen on March 5, 2019, 5:31 am
    • Talkback on March 5, 2019, 6:09 am

      DaBakr: “to accept Jewish sovereignty over Muslims”

      Damn, I didn’t know that Jews own Muslims. I though that all citizens in Israel were equal.

      • DaBakr on March 6, 2019, 4:10 am


        You can pretend you don’t understand. Sovereignty. It’s a word. It has different uses.

      • Talkback on March 6, 2019, 9:18 am

        You can pretend that you don’t want to obscure Apartheid. A group of citizens of a state don’t have “souvereignity” over another group of citizens. So what do you actually mean besides Apartheid?

      • just on March 6, 2019, 10:08 am


        …Supreme power or authority”

        When one considers Occupation, well then:

        “…Israel’s increasing encroachment on the land intensified in 1967, after the second Arab-Israeli war, which resulted in the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, and eventually the illegal Israeli annexation of Jerusalem, including the Old City and al-Aqsa.

        The illegal Israeli control of East Jerusalem, including the Old City, violates several principles of international law, which outlines that an occupying power does not have sovereignty in the territory it occupies. …”


        For those not familiar with the laws of Occupation, please take advantage of this simple primer by the ICRC;

        “Occupation and international humanitarian law: questions and answers …”


        The Waqf has control over Al- Aqsa and al-Haram al-Sharif. Israel, its leaders, its illegal settlers, and its ‘security forces’ have created and are creating mayhem and worse in this place. Is Israel really prepared for the backlash it will reap from others for its incitement in order to protect its false ‘sovereignty’ over this area of al- Quds?

        “Caution on the Temple Mount

        Israel would suffer no loss of respect, sovereignty or security if the Bab al-Rahma building remained open …

        The harsh comments by right-wing Jewish Temple Mount advocates and Israeli politicians about a loss of sovereignty amount to a hollow expression of national pride. As in earlier incidents on the mount — involving the Western Wall tunnels, Ariel Sharon’s visit, the Mughrabi Gate and metal detectors at the entrance — Israel would suffer no loss of respect, sovereignty or security if the Bab al-Rahma building remained open. In all of these cases, Israel acted unilaterally on the mount out of a desire to demonstrate sovereignty, and in every case, Israel’s response led to an outbreak of violence and for the most part also to an Israeli retreat from its original stance.

        A courageous Israeli leadership would have acknowledged that the Temple Mount problem is not unrelated to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A courageous leadership would admit that, despite all the slogans and declarations about sovereignty and the unity of Jerusalem, Israel is not free to act as it pleases on the mount. Past experience shows that unilateral actions put at risk not only the security of Israeli citizens but also relations with the Palestinian Authority, Jordan and the rest of the Arab world. …”

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