(AP): A prominent Saudi prince has strongly criticized Israel today (Sunday) at a Bahrain security summit that was remotely attended by Israel’s foreign minister.
Prince Turki al-Faisal, who led Saudi intelligence for more than two decades, has warned that any normalisation deals needed to help the Palestinians obtain their own independent state.
The comments come as neighbouring Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates recently moved to normalise relations and establish ties with Israel.
During the summit, the prince described Israel as a ‘Western colonising’ power, saying that Israel has incarcerated Palestinians in concentration camps under the flimsiest of security accusations
“They are demolishing homes as they wish and they assassinate whomever they want,” he added. Although the prince does not hold any official position, his stance is seen as closely mirroring that of King Salman.
In contrast, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has signalled a greater willingness to quietly engage with Israel to counter common rival, Iran, and boost foreign investment in the kingdom.
Later, Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, said, “I would like to express my regret on the comments of the Saudi representative. I don’t believe that they reflect the spirit and the changes taking place in the Middle East.”
Saudi Arabia had earlier insisted that any normalisation can only happen alongside a lasting peace deal involving a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.