Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman recognized Israel’s right to exist for the first time Monday.
In an interview with The Atlantic, the Crown Prince said, “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.”
The Saudi Crown Prince discussed his concern about religious sites in Israel, such as the highly contentious Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.
“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,” he said.
The Saudi Crown Prince also claimed that there are no interfaith problems between Christians, Jews, and Muslims in Saudi Arabia. “Our country doesn’t have a problem with Jews. Our Prophet Muhammad married a Jewish woman. Not just a friend—he married her. Our prophet, his neighbors were Jewish,” the Crown Prince said. “You will find a lot of Jews in Saudi Arabia coming from America, coming from Europe. There are no problems between Christian and Muslims and Jews. We have problems like you would find anywhere in the world, among some people. But the normal sort of problems.”
The recognition of Israel, however, could possibly be a pointed arrow at Iran, considering the two countries have been in a type of cold war since the Iranian Revolution in 1979. The Saudi Crown Prince expressed shared interests with Israel, particularly against Iran. “Israel is a big economy compared to their size and it’s a growing economy, and of course there are a lot of interests we share with Israel and if there is peace, there would be a lot of interest between Israel and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and countries like Egypt and Jordan.”
The Crown Prince also said the Ayatollah Khameini, supreme leader of Iran, “makes Hitler look good.”
“I believe that the Iranian supreme leader makes Hitler look good,” the Crown Prince stated. “But the supreme leader is trying to conquer the world. He believes he owns the world. They are both evil guys. He is the Hitler of the Middle East.”
The Saudi Crown Prince recently met with President Trump on March 20th, where the two discussed commercial deals, ISIS, and the conflict in Yemen against Iranian-backed Houthis, which is regarded as a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia also opened commercial air travel to Israel last month via Air India. However, there are still no official governmental relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel.
In December of last year, President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.