Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the heir apparent to the Saudi throne, made the remark during a closed-door meeting with heads of Jewish organizations in New York on March 27, Barak Ravid, a diplomatic correspondent with Israel’s Channel 10, wrote on the Axios website.
Citing an Israeli diplomatic cable, as well as two sources briefed on the meeting, Ravid reported that the prince, often referred to as MbS, was unusually blunt when speaking on the Palestinian cause.
“In the last several decades the Palestinian leadership has missed one opportunity after the other and rejected all the peace proposals it was given,” the prince said. “It is about time the Palestinians take the proposals and agree to come to the negotiations table or shut up and stop complaining.”
— Barak Ravid (@BarakRavid) April 29, 2018
The attendees were more than surprised to hear the bombshell statement, sources told Ravid. “People literally fell off their chairs.”
Prince bin Salman also said that Palestine is not a top issue for Riyadh or Saudi public opinion, adding that the kingdom “has much more urgent and important issues to deal with,” such as countering Iran’s standing in the region.
While lashing out at the Palestinian leadership and President Mahmoud Abbas, bin Salman nevertheless said there needs to be significant progress in the Arab-Israeli peace process in order to mend ties between the Gulf nations and Tel Aviv.
It is unclear which peace proposal MBS was referring to. Currently, a roadmap for a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is being completed by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and a vocal supporter of Israel. Jason Greenblatt, a senior Trump adviser and ardent Israel supporter, is also taking part in drafting the peace plan.
Little is known about the US proposal, though Nikki Haley, the US envoy to the UN, shed some light on it in February. Haley said the Trump administration chose the golden mean for the peace roadmap, which “won’t be loved and won’t be hated” by either Israel or the Palestinians.
It is up to the Israelis and Palestinians to decide how best to solve the decades-long conflict, and “if they decide on two states, the United States will support two states. If they decide on certain boundaries, the United States is going to support those boundaries.”
It turns out that Palestine does not play a very significant role in President Donald Trump’s foreign policy. Earlier, it emerged that Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spent just 15 minutes on Palestine in their White House meeting.
In mid-April, Trump tweeted that he was “looking forward” to moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem in May, a controversial move that sent shockwaves all across the Arab world. Tagging Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the post, Trump thanked the Israeli people and declared the US has “no better friends anywhere.” The move was met with a backlash, even from his Western allies. The UK said the UN’s two-state solution should be kept to.