Saudis Recognize Israel’s Right to Exist

 

I couldn’t believe my ears — yes, my ears. I learned about this by phone from my Torah study partner in Israel. I had to search to find out more. Thanks to Ben Shapiro, I finally believe it. He quotes an article in the Atlantic where Prince Mohammed bin Salman says:

I believe that each people, anywhere, has a right to live in their peaceful nation. I believe the Palestinians and the Israelis have the right to have their own land…. we have religious concerns about the fate of the holy mosque in Jerusalem and about the rights of the Palestinian people. This is what we have. We don’t have any objection against any other people.

I know that the Saudis and Israelis have been working together in a number of areas, including the sharing of intelligence. In a meeting with Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority, Salman proposed a peace plan that…

…would give Palestinians a state ‘but only noncontiguous parts of the West Bank and only limited sovereignty over their own territory. The vast majority of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which most of the world considers illegal, would remain. The Palestinians would not be given East Jerusalem as their capital and there would be no right of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants . . .’

It’s reported that this shift may be due to the work of Jared Kushner, Trump’s special advisor and son-in-law, working around the State Department.

I feel quite certain that Prince Mohammed’s peace proposal fell on deaf ears with the Palestinians. And I’m not convinced that a two-state solution is the remedy for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. But the Prince’s acknowledging Israel’s right to exist in his role as one of the leaders of the Arab world is a deeply meaningful statement not only to Israel but to the entire world.

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  1. Kay of MT Member
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    It’s a start!

    • #1
  2. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    I don’t know how responsible Kushner is for this, but MbS has gone way out on a limb. I wonder to what degree this puts his “purge” of other elements of the Saudi elite in a new light.

     

    • #2
  3. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Sounds like Winning to me. 

    • #3
  4. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Did he say it in Arabic? Not that I dont think the man wants to improve Saudi Israeli relations but there is a long history of saying one thing in English and another in Arabic in the middle east. 

    And shouldn’t we thank Obama’s Iran nuclear deal for giving Saudi Arabia and Isreal common cause? A light worker, indeed!

    • #4
  5. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    It sounds great, but it’s hard for me to keep my skepticism in check.  If what the Prince says he’ll work for is true, one assassin’s bullet (or knife) will set the whole thing back another 50 years.

    If he does accomplish the impossible, will the Saudis provide military aid to Israel should there be a conflict with Syria or Iran?

    Will the Palestinians do their usual thing and reject any proposal?

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed . . .

    • #5
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Percival (View Comment):
    I don’t know how responsible Kushner is for this, but MbS has gone way out on a limb. I wonder to what degree this puts his “purge” of other elements of the Saudi elite in a new light.

    I suspect he’s working to get “roadblocks” out of the way. “You’re either with me or agin me.”

    • #6
  7. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Stad (View Comment):

    It sounds great, but it’s hard for me to keep my skepticism in check. If what the Prince says he’ll work for is true, one assassin’s bullet (or knife) will set the whole thing back another 50 years.

    If he does accomplish the impossible, will the Saudis provide military aid to Israel should there be a conflict with Syria or Iran?

    Will the Palestinians do their usual thing and reject any proposal?

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed . . .

    We shouldn’t get too far ahead of ourselves, @stad. You have every reason to be skeptical. We’ll just have to wait and see . . .

    • #7
  8. Misthiocracy, Joke Pending Member
    Misthiocracy, Joke Pending
    @Misthiocracy

    I’m always struck by how Jordan doesn’t want the West Bank back.

     

    • #8
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Misthiocracy, Joke Pending (View Comment):
    I’m always struck by how Jordan doesn’t want the West Bank back.

    Hard to figure out, isn’t @misthiocracy. And they’d get all those delightful Palestinians, too!

    • #9
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Here is the original article  in The Atlantic. I checked a couple of videos on youtube to see if he speaks in English, and it appears he talks through a translator; that’s likely what he did with The Atlantic. As @valiuth states, however, he could say one thing through his translator and another in Arabic.

    • #10
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Caroline Glick, a journalist whom I greatly admire, has her own take today on Prince Mohammed. I understand and appreciate her skepticism, and agree with some of it, too. The Prince, however, is not only a politician, but some of his ambiguity probably comes from his concerns about the reaction of the Saudi family. He’s walking a delicate line between making changes and not dangerously alienating anyone. You can decide for yourself about her concerns. As a few of us have said in this OP, we shouldn’t be waving banners yet.

    • #11
  12. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    He did not say Israel has any right to exist on any part of the land it now covers. 

    • #12
  13. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    ctlaw (View Comment):

    He did not say Israel has any right to exist on any part of the land it now covers.

    That’s true, @ctlaw. Does that omission discredit his words? After all, the Jews once talked about locating to Africa.; maybe he’s hoping to send them to another part of the world. (Not being sarcastic–it could be true.)

    • #13
  14. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    Misthiocracy, Joke Pending (View Comment):

    I’m always struck by how Jordan doesn’t want the West Bank back.

     

    Personally, I think they are happy for folks to forget that they annexed it in the first place.   In fact…just looking at Jordanian troop movements in the 1948 war it’s apparent they were intent on occupying ‘Palestine’ rather than engaging Israelis.    

     

    • #14
  15. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Caroline Glick, a journalist whom I greatly admire, has her own take today on Prince Mohammed. I understand and appreciate her skepticism, and agree with some of it, too. The Prince, however, is not only a politician, but some of his ambiguity probably comes from his concerns about the reaction of the Saudi family. He’s walking a delicate line between making changes and not dangerously alienating anyone. You can decide for yourself about her concerns. As a few of us have said in this OP, we shouldn’t be waving banners yet.

    Not dangerously alienating anyone?    I think that ship has sailed.     

    https://pjmedia.com/homeland-security/hamza-bin-laden-vows-redistribute-riches-saudi-arabia-poor-call-uprising/

     

    • #15
  16. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Ekosj (View Comment):
    Not dangerously alienating anyone? I think that ship has sailed.

    Yep. Seems so. I wonder how much credibility Hamza bin Laden has these days. It’s hard to believe that anyone would believe his promise of redistributing the wealth, but it’s certainly possible. I’m sure others are making their plans, too, to kick out Prince Mohammed, and he knows who a lot of them are. It will be interesting to watch, won’t it?

    • #16
  17. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    I couldn’t believe my ears — yes, my ears. I learned about this by phone from my Torah study partner in Israel. I had to search to find out more. Thanks to Ben Shapiro, I finally believe it.

    Ben reads Ricochet?

    • #17
  18. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    I couldn’t believe my ears — yes, my ears. I learned about this by phone from my Torah study partner in Israel. I had to search to find out more. Thanks to Ben Shapiro, I finally believe it.

    Ben reads Ricochet?

    Oops. Didn’t read that far. Yeah, I know, it wasn’t far to go. Sorry, @jameslileks.

    • #18
  19. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    It is wonderful progress, indeed.

    When it comes to Arab judgments of Israel, the direction of travel is very important. There is no need to make the perfect the enemy of the good. So I am quite gruntled with the way things are going – they are in fact better than ever.

    • #19
  20. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Did he say it in Arabic? Not that I dont think the man wants to improve Saudi Israeli relations but there is a long history of saying one thing in English and another in Arabic in the middle east.

    And shouldn’t we thank Obama’s Iran nuclear deal for giving Saudi Arabia and Isreal common cause? A light worker, indeed!

    I don’t think I will be thanking Obama’s Iran nuclear deal anytime soon, for anything. But I am always in tune with the expressions, ‘beware of unintended consequences’ and ‘be careful what you wish for’. However the Saudi’s have a warming relationship with Israel, and have for a while. That’s a darn good thing. Now we have the new Leader that seems very much inclined to move his country into the Western Civilization. I pray he has success. And I pray they get here before we destroy it ourselves.

    • #20
  21. aardo vozz Member
    aardo vozz
    @aardovozz

    iWe (View Comment):

    It is wonderful progress, indeed.

    When it comes to Arab judgments of Israel, the direction of travel is very important. There is no need to make the perfect the enemy of the good. So I am quite gruntled with the way things are going – they are in fact better than ever.

    Which reminds me.  Has anyone seen  anything about the current state of relations between Israel and Egypt?

     

    • #21
  22. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    aardo vozz (View Comment):

    iWe (View Comment):

    It is wonderful progress, indeed.

    When it comes to Arab judgments of Israel, the direction of travel is very important. There is no need to make the perfect the enemy of the good. So I am quite gruntled with the way things are going – they are in fact better than ever.

    Which reminds me. Has anyone seen anything about the current state of relations between Israel and Egypt?

     

    I understand they are still working together, although to what degree, I’m not sure. Over the last couple of months, my Torah study partner has warned me that we might get cut off because Egypt is trying cut off the ISIS means of communication, and sometimes it affects Israelis. It hasn’t been an issue for the two of us, although the Israeli phone company usually cuts us off if we go over an hour!

    • #22
  23. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    I sort of agree with Caroline Glick’s article. (I’m in shock.)

    More positively: since MBS is taking this step from weakness, and one of the things that could undermine him is popular Saudi (and Arab) reaction, what could/should the West do to encourage the people to move with MBS rather than against him?

    • #23
  24. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Zafar (View Comment):

    I sort of agree with Caroline Glick’s article. (I’m in shock.)

    More positively: since MBS is taking this step from weakness, and one of the things that could undermine him is popular Saudi (and Arab) reaction, what could/should the West do to encourage the people to move with MBS rather than against him?

    That is a great question, @zafar. (You made me smile re the Glick article.) I don’t know if we have that much influence with the Saudi population, although we certainly cheered when the Saudi women started to drive. (It wasn’t a lot, but it was something.) Do you have some ideas?

    Edit: Zafar, that means you and I pretty much agree with each other! Zounds!

    • #24
  25. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Let’s enjoy the moment!!

    • #25
  26. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Let’s enjoy the moment!!

    Yahoo!  ;-)

    • #26
  27. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    I couldn’t believe my ears — yes, my ears. I learned about this by phone from my Torah study partner in Israel. I had to search to find out more. Thanks to Ben Shapiro, I finally believe it.

    Ben reads Ricochet?

    Well, he should. 

    • #27
  28. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    I sort of agree with Caroline Glick’s article. (I’m in shock.)

    More positively: since MBS is taking this step from weakness, and one of the things that could undermine him is popular Saudi (and Arab) reaction, what could/should the West do to encourage the people to move with MBS rather than against him?

    That is a great question, @zafar. (You made me smile re the Glick article.) I don’t know if we have that much influence with the Saudi population, although we certainly cheered when the Saudi women started to drive. (It wasn’t a lot, but it was something.) Do you have some ideas?

    Deeds, not words.

    (That goes for MBS and Israel as well. Jmho.)

    Edit:

    So, MBS, if you are reading this:

    Saudi has had that Arab-Israeli peace plan hanging around alone and unloved for about a decade.

    My suggestion is that you break it down into matching steps – with clear, deliverable benefits to each ‘side’ when they both implement.

    There are clear benefits that Saudi (rope in the GSC if you can, more countries even better ) should be able to offer Israel:

    Increasing access to the Gulf economies (eg step one basic access, step two freedom of entry and ability to enter into joint ventures, step three tariff reduction, similar steps for diplomatic recognition and military cooperation, etc).  Each of these really benefit the Saudis as well as Israel – which makes them more robust measures than if they were one sided

    Do this in response to concrete steps rather than just declarations.

    These steps should benefit people, not just governments or administrations.  Their benefits should similarly be felt by both sides, not just one. I think Israel’s steps should be similar for the Palestinians to the ones Saudi offers Israel.  Israel can offer these meaningfully with American support.

    The EU and US may be involved directly as part of this process.

    Everybody should be flexible about the outcome – and perhaps even let it stay ambiguous for a while – so long as movement and concrete benefits are happening   For both sides .

    Don’t leave out Gaza because you disagree with their administration.

    Currently the dialogue is dominated, and perhaps deliberately stymied, by literal minded maximalists.  Do your best to take their veto away from them.

    And most importantly: focus on succeeding, more than proving that the other side is responsible for failure.  That’s despicable, no matter who does it, especially as an end goal.

    • #28
  29. Chris Campion Coolidge
    Chris Campion
    @ChrisCampion

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Caroline Glick, a journalist whom I greatly admire, has her own take today on Prince Mohammed. I understand and appreciate her skepticism, and agree with some of it, too. The Prince, however, is not only a politician, but some of his ambiguity probably comes from his concerns about the reaction of the Saudi family. He’s walking a delicate line between making changes and not dangerously alienating anyone. You can decide for yourself about her concerns. As a few of us have said in this OP, we shouldn’t be waving banners yet.

    Not dangerously alienating anyone? I think that ship has sailed.

    https://pjmedia.com/homeland-security/hamza-bin-laden-vows-redistribute-riches-saudi-arabia-poor-call-uprising/

    Pretty such that thing was already alienated.  And perchance avoided being perforated in Pakistan.

    • #29
  30. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    I sort of agree with Caroline Glick’s article. (I’m in shock.)

    More positively: since MBS is taking this step from weakness, and one of the things that could undermine him is popular Saudi (and Arab) reaction, what could/should the West do to encourage the people to move with MBS rather than against him?

    That is a great question, @zafar. (You made me smile re the Glick article.) I don’t know if we have that much influence with the Saudi population, although we certainly cheered when the Saudi women started to drive. (It wasn’t a lot, but it was something.) Do you have some ideas?

    Deeds, not words.

    (That goes for MBS and Israel as well. Jmho.)

    Edit:

    So, MBS, if you are reading this:

    Saudi has had that Arab-Israeli peace plan hanging around alone and unloved for about a decade.

    My suggestion is that you break it down into matching steps – with clear, deliverable benefits to each ‘side’ when they both implement.

    There are clear benefits that Saudi (rope in the GSC if you can, more countries even better ) should be able to offer Israel:

    Increasing access to the Gulf economies (eg step one basic access, step two freedom of entry and ability to enter into joint ventures, step three tariff reduction, similar steps for diplomatic recognition and military cooperation, etc). Each of these really benefit the Saudis as well as Israel – which makes them more robust measures than if they were one sided

    Do this in response to concrete steps rather than just declarations.

    These steps should benefit people, not just governments or administrations. Their benefits should similarly be felt by both sides, not just one. I think Israel’s steps should be similar for the Palestinians to the ones Saudi offers Israel. Israel can offer these meaningfully with American support.

    The EU and US may be involved directly as part of this process.

    Everybody should be flexible about the outcome – and perhaps even let it stay ambiguous for a while – so long as movement and concrete benefits are happening For both sides .

    Don’t leave out Gaza because you disagree with their administration.

    Currently the dialogue is dominated, and perhaps deliberately stymied, by literal minded maximalists. Do your best to take their veto away from them.

    And most importantly: focus on succeeding, more than proving that the other side is responsible for failure. That’s despicable, no matter who does it, especially as an end goal.

    @zafar, at this level of discussion, we are once more in agreement! I especially like the idea of concrete action rather than words, from both sides. These premises would be a great place to start. My overall concern, as always, is whether the Palestinian Authority (I’m not clear about the people) really wants to recognize Israel’s right to exist and if it will honor that. I see little to no hope that Hamas will accept Israel. Thanks for these thoughtful ideas!

    • #30

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