Riyadh: Creation of a sovereign Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital is Saudi Arabia’s price for normalising relations with Israel, a senior member of the Saudi royal family who also served as Kingdom’s Ambassador to the United States affirmed on Friday.
Prince Turki al-Faisal said: “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has set a price for concluding peace between Israel and the Arabs — it is the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state with Jerusalem as capital, as provided for by the initiative of the late King Abdullah.”
Prince Turki was apparently responding to US President Donald Trump who said on Wednesday he expected Saudi Arabia to join a peace deal announced by Israel and the United Arab Emirates to normalise diplomatic relations.
The deal raised speculation that other US-backed Gulf Arab countries might follow UAE. But Prince Turki said Saudi Arabia, the biggest Gulf Arab power expected a higher return from Israel.
“Any Arab state that is considering following the UAE should demand in return a price, and it should be an expensive price,” Prince Turk wrote in the Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Awsat.
Prince Turki also voiced understanding for the UAE’s decision. He said that Riyadh’s close ally had secured a key condition – a halt to Israeli annexation plans.
Prince Turki, a former ambassador to Washington and ex-intelligence chief, holds no government office now but remains influential as current chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies.
That 2002 Arab League plan offered Israel normalised ties in return for Israeli withdrawal from all territories – the West Bank, Gaza and occupied East Jerusalem – captured in the 1967 Middle East war, and a Palestinian state there.