Saudi prince says Israel has 'right' to its land

2018-04-03 20:05
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud. (Eskinder Debebe, United Nations via AP)

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud. (Eskinder Debebe, United Nations via AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington – The crown prince and de facto leader of Saudi Arabia said Israel has a "right" to a homeland, a notable shift in the kingdom's position published on Monday.

Saudi Arabia and Israel still have no formal diplomatic relations, but behind the scenes, improvements in their ties have accelerated in recent years.

Both countries see Iran as their biggest outside threat and the United States as their key ally, and both see danger from armed Islamist extremists.

Israel's conflict with the Palestinians has long proved an obstacle to a full rapprochement, however, as Riyadh still supports their claim to sovereignty.

But now Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – speaking to the editor-in-chief of US news magazine The Atlantic – appeared to put the rival land claims on an equal footing.

The prince was asked by Jeffrey Goldberg whether the "Jewish people have a right to a nation-state in at least part of their ancestral homeland"?

"I believe that each people, anywhere, has a right to live in their peaceful nation," said the prince, who is on a three-week US tour.

"I believe the Palestinians and the Israelis have the right to have their own land," he added.

"But we have to have a peace agreement to assure the stability for everyone and to have normal relations."

'Religious concerns'

Since 2002, Saudi Arabia has been the main sponsor of the Arab Peace Initiative, which envisions a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

But no such senior Saudi official is known to have previously accepted that Israel has a "right" to any land beyond the practical need to secure a lasting deal.

If, as expected, the crown prince succeeds his octogenarian father King Salman and ascends to the Saudi throne, he will also become guardian of Islam's holiest shrines.

But he told Goldberg he had no "religious objection" to Israelis living alongside Palestinians, so long as the main Muslim holy site in Jerusalem – the Al-Aqsa mosque compound – is protected.

"We have religious concerns about the fate of the holy mosque in Jerusalem and about the rights of the Palestinian people," he said.

"This is what we have. We don't have any objection against any other people."

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    israel

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.