Saudi king emphasizes support for Palestinians after son says Israelis deserve their land


By Middle East Affairs

King Salman made a statement Tuesday to reiterate Saudi Arabia’s support for a Palestinian state, seemingly in response to a recent comment from his son that the Israelis deserved to live peacefully on their land.

King Salman said “the kingdom’s steadfast position towards the Palestinian issue and the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital,” according to state news agency SPA.

The king also called U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday night to discuss the importance of the peace plan that the United States is preparing for Israel and Palestine. Demonstrations on the Gaza-Israel border last Friday led to 16 Palestinian deaths.

King Salman’s song and heir to the throne, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was quoted Monday in American magazine The Atlantic as saying the Israelis were entitled to their land.

It points to a major shift in Saudi Arabian and Israeli relations, as the Gulf state, which is the birthplace of Islam, has never recognized Israel and pushed for it to withdraw from the Arab lands captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

Still, Mohammed bin Salman’s quote in The Atlantic points to support for a two-state solution.

“I believe the Palestinians and the Israelis have the right to have their own land. But we have to have a peace agreement to assure the stability for everyone and to have normal relations.”

“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,” said Prince Mohammed.

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