As relations between Israel and several GCC countries are being overtly established, amidst US President's pledges to push others to establish full ties with Israel, it seems that Saudi Arabia is living through a real rift between King Salman and his favorite son, the Crown Prince who has been very excited to normalize relations with Israel, mainly because of the same US call.
“[MBS] didn’t tell his father about the planned accord, which didn’t mention Palestinian statehood….A furious King Salman later ordered his foreign minister to restate the kingdom’s commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state…."https://t.co/y3Ol3uNIyk— Arif Rafiq (@ArifCRafiq) September 18, 2020
According to WSJ, aids to the Saudi Royal Family have revealed a major disagreement between the 84 year-old Saudi King and his 35-years old son when it comes to normalizing relations between KSA and Israel, which shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone reading statements made by the king in this regard, as opposed to those of his young son, who is personally a close friend of Jared Kushner.
While the King who calls himself "an old friend of Palestinians" insists on the two-state solution as a condition to recognize Israel, as per the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative drafted by his predecessor then-Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, MBS seems very excited to announce full relations with Israel regardless of Palestinian statehood, the US-based journal highlights.
Will the Saudis or won't they (make peace with Israel, that is)? @WSJ: It's King Salman, 84, vs MbS, 35.— Daniel Pipes دانيال بايبس (@DanielPipes) September 19, 2020
- Salman says not until there's a Palestinian state
- #MBS wants the economic & anti-Iran benefits of a treaty
Well, time is clearly on Israel's side.https://t.co/qNpeeZ66LA
Since the Jerusalem announcement, Saudi King Salman has seized hold of the Palestinian issue personally and repeatedly clarified that Saudi Arabia would not alter its commitment to creating a Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem.https://t.co/kEM7xmWtDW— Hussein Ibish (@Ibishblog) April 4, 2019
Driven by excitement over the UAE and Bahrain normalization with Israel celebrated in the White House last week, the US president has publicly said that Saudi Arabia amongst other Arab countries will be joining what his administration describes as "a major and historic peace deal in the Middle East."
Hours after the ceremony bringing the Israeli Prime Minister and the foreign ministers of both the UAE and Bahrain together in Washington, DC last Tuesday, Trump told the press that he had spoken to the Saudi King who told him "that Saudi Arabia will join in at the right time."
President Trump says that he spoke to the king of Saudi Arabia and that the thinks they will make a peace deal with Israel in the future:— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) September 15, 2020
"We will have other countries coming in fairly rapidly." pic.twitter.com/TpVHEbbJhp
However, the WSJ reports that fearing his father's reactions, the Saudi heir hid the fact that the accord between Saudi's main allies in the region and Israel doesn't mention a Palestinian state, and that it merely puts Israeli plans to annex parts of the West Bank on hold temporarily.
The report goes on to say that as soon as the Saudi King realized that, he "furiously ordered his foreign minister to restate his kingdom's commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state."
Additionally, the difference in views between the King and his Crown Prince is evident in reactions of the Saudi press to the normalization between the UAE, Bahrain, and Israel.
@media_ksa #السعودية_العظمى— 🇸🇦Abu Meshari🇸🇦 (@AbuMeshari4u) September 19, 2020
الا تخالف الجريدة هذه مواقف السعوديه من دولة الاحتلال الاسرائيلي
هل تعد هذه مخالفة لأنظمة الدولة ومخالف لمواقفها واتجهاتها؟ اقصد احتفال الجريدة بعيد اليهود؟ @arabnews pic.twitter.com/FE8Bo3jnPo
Translation: "Doesn't the newspaper oppose the Saudi stance on Israel? Doesn't this violate the state's laws and regulations? I mean their celebration of the Jewish holiday."
Only Yesterday, the Saudi-based newspaper Arab News changed its profile picture and the cover photo on social media channels in celebration of the Jewish New Year, in an unprecedented step in the Middle East.
Commenting on the surprising gesture taken by a newspaper, who has never celebrated any non-Islamic occasions with the same enthusiasm, social media users wondered if this points at an approaching change of the Saudi stance on the 72-year old conflict with Israel.
Even though the photos were taken down several hours later, some Saudi users wondered if what the newspaper had done is a violation of the law, considering that it goes against the Kingdom's announced political stance that remains unchanged, at least so far.
Despite Trump's confident tone, analysts argue that it's very unlikely that Saudi Arabia will sign for full relations with Israel during the lifetime of King Salman, but him being 84-years old might eventually change this reality, as long as MBS is the de facto ruler of the country.
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