Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) told Fox News’ Bret Baier on Wednesday that he wants to see a “good life” for Palestinians, but did not mention a “Palestinian state” as a condition for peace with Israel.
Earlier this week, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan said at a United Nations event that “[t]here is no way to resolve the conflict other than by ensuring the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.” But MBS seemed to disagree.
“For us, the Palestinian issue is very important,” MBS told Baier. “We need to solve that part. … We hope that it will reach a place that it will ease the life of the Palestinians, and get Israel back as a player in the Middle East.”
The interview, which aired on Fox News’ Special Report, was MBS’s first full-length interview in English.
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President Joe Biden has been trying to encourage a Saudi-Israeli peace deal, after progress on the Abraham Accords stalled shortly after he took office. Liberal U.S. Jewish groups insisted this week that any peace be made conditional on a Palestinian state.
A Palestinian state would be difficult for some of the parties in Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition to accept. And it would also be difficult to implement, while the Palestinian Authority continues to subsidize terror against Israels.
Moreover, the logic of the Abraham Accords — which the Saudis tacitly backed during the Trump administration — had been that Palestinians do not have a veto over progress. And MBS appeared to agree.
MBS denied reports that he had broken off talks with Israel, and said that negotiations were making progress. “Every day we get closer,” he said.
Asked whether he could make peace with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, MBS said that Saudi policy was not to interfere in the internal politics of other countries. He added that if a deal would “give the Palestinians their needs and make the region calm, we’re going to work with whoever’s there.”
MBS said that if Iran obtained a nuclear weapon, then Saudi Arabia would want one as well, as a deterrent — though he added that a nuclear weapon was “useless,” since using it would mean incurring the wrath of the world.
The Saudi Crown Prince said that his focus was accelerating economic growth in his country, and moving Saudi Arabia back into the top ranks of the world’s richest nations, through regional development and integration.
Asked about the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside a Saudi diplomatic post in Turkey in 2018, MBS said that it was unfortunate, and that those involved had been punished. He said he was trying to change other laws in Saudi Arabia, saying that he was “ashamed” of harsh penalties, such as a death sentence for online dissent on X.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.
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