Middle East Monitor / September 30, 2019
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has vowed to recognise and normalise trade with Israel if the United States helps him “defeat Iran and take control of the Middle East.”
These statements, which were revealed by a documentary presented by PBS network, on Saturday, in the TV programme Frontline, were made by Bin Salman in a meeting with US President Donald Trump during his famous visit to Riyadh in May 2017.
Martin Smith, the presenter of the documentary, entitled The Crown Prince, said that Mohammad bin Salman wanted Trump to ensure “the United States’ assistance in defeating Iran while supporting the prince’s ambitions to become the key player in the Middle East.”
In return, Bin Salman pledged to help Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, in Smith’s words, which was the nucleus of what later formed the US plan to settle the Palestinian issue, known as the “Deal of the Century.”
The documentary featured the Washington Post’s military analyst David Ignatius quoting the Saudi Crown Prince, who stated: “I see a Middle East where Israel is a part of … I am ready to recognise and have trade relations with Israel.”
Ignatius added that Bin Salman’s proposal “tempted the US administration and became the focus of the plan that Kushner keeps on advocating”.
Israeli-Saudi relations have undergone a close rapprochement since the rise of Bin Salman to power, amid reports of a meeting held earlier by Bin Salman, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and other Gulf officials, on a yacht in the Red Sea.
Last June, a Saudi diplomat told Globes that normalising relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel would only be “a matter of time”, acknowledging the existence of Secret Israeli-Saudi ties and that Saudi Arabia is using Israeli technologies.
Despite the Saudi diplomat’s assertion of his country’s commitment to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, as during Abbas’s recent meeting with King Salman, the latter reiterated his support for the process of hindering any peace paths that may bring detrimental consequences upon the Palestinian leadership. However, the diplomat acknowledged that King Salman and the Crown Prince were putting pressure on Abbas “to take the political and economic developments seriously.”
Although Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel Al-Jubeir, said that his country is not familiar with the details of the US plan to settle the Palestinian issue, known as the “Deal of the Century”, the Saudi diplomat indicated that the deal has one significant advantage, as “it includes an inclusive economic strategy for the development of the entire region, and especially Palestine”.
Al-Jubeir expressed his country’s readiness to invest large sums in the deal, “which Palestinians did not dream of getting before.” Thus, he promoted for numerous temptations advanced by the US, such as the claim that the money would achieve “real independence, good education, and self-sufficient health and industry sectors for the Palestinians.”