Top Saudi Diplomat to Israeli Paper: ‘Age of War with Israel’ Is Over

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is seen behind a military band upon his arrival at Algiers International Airport, southeast of the capital Algiers on December 2, 2018. (Photo by RYAD KRAMDI / AFP) (Photo credit should read RYAD KRAMDI/AFP/Getty Images)
RYAD KRAMDI/AFP/Getty

TEL AVIV – In a rare interview with a Hebrew-language newspaper, a senior Saudi diplomat said it was time the Arab world realized that the “age of war with Israel” is over.

The diplomat, who declined to be named, slammed the Palestinian leadership for “irresponsibly” panning the Trump administration’s long-anticipated peace deal without even seeing it.

“The bloody conflict has dragged on for too long. For us the Saudis, as well as for all the Gulf states, Egypt and Jordan, it is clear that the age of war with Israel has ended and that normalizing relations will only benefit us,” he said in interview published in Globes. “The entire Arab world can benefit from this, not only the Palestinians, and of course also [Israel].”

“History and Allah have brought a real opportunity to realize this,” he added.

He praised Israel’s technological prowess, saying that even those in the Arab world that “hate” Israel look to the Jewish state with “admiration over its success in [technology] and hopes to copy it.”

He emphasized Saudi Arabia’s deep commitment to the Palestinians but criticized them for hanging onto a victimhood identity.

“Maybe it is hard for them to separate themselves from the portrayal of the eternal victim and they don’t believe they can survive without it,” he said.

President Donald Trump’s so-called deal of the century would bring the Palestinians $50 billion, “sums they never dreamed of,” he said.

On Saturday, Palestinian officials denounced the economic portion of the peace plan unveiled by the White House.

According to the diplomat, the peace proposal also includes a vision for Palestinian statehood.

The deal provides a “clear path leading to total Palestinian independence,” he said.

He added that even the thorniest issues can be resolved, but the Palestinians are unwilling to accept that.

He acknowledged that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may be the wrong person to be involved in a peace deal.

“We recognize [Netanyahu’s] excellent relationship with Trump and with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but it is clear to us that in the Israeli political structure it will be difficult for him to pass a diplomatic plan with the Palestinians,” he said.

“We believe that when the time comes for a decision, every Israeli leader, including Netanyahu, will adopt the path of peace, because that is what most Israelis want,” he added.

He praised Israel for revealing the danger posed by Iran to the world and lambasted Europe for not understanding that its commercial ties with Tehran “secures funds for terrorism.”

The Trump administration, on the other hand, “understands very well what Tehran’s goal is.”

Riyadh and Washington “have clear evidence that the terrorist attacks against the oil tankers were the work of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.”

Iran would not allow the situation to devolve into war, he said, because it has too much to lose.

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