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Normalisation with Israel not easy as pie, Saudi prince reaffirms

Normalisation with Israel not easy as pie, Saudi prince reaffirms

Prince Turki al-Faisal, Former Saudi intelligence chief ( Image Courtesy : Snap shot from CNBC international Youtube Channel )

New Delhi: Defusing all rumours around normalising ties with Israel, Saudi minister has categorically stated that Israel is "last of the western colonising powers in the Middle East".

In a speech delivered at Manama Dialogue conference in Bahrain, Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former Saudi intelligence chief who is close to King Salman criticised Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians and for occupying Arab lands.

"We have heard on numerous occasions from … King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that a Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem and a fair solution for Palestinian refugees is the only peaceful option for all of us," Prince Turki al-Faisal said at the conference where Israel's foreign minister Gabi Ashkenazi was also present.

The prince was referring to the long-demanded creation of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, as formally approved by the Arab League.

There were rumours that Saudi Arabia will follow its allies, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, who signed "Abraham Accords" to normalise relations with Israel in September. The agreement which was brokered by US President Donald Trump's administration, included a termination of planned annexation of Palestinian land by Israel.

However, weeks after signing the accord, the settler country approved the construction of 5,000 housing units in occupied territory, which most of the international community considers illegal.

Prince Turki lashed at Israel whose successive governments "unleashed their political minions and media hounds from all countries to denigrate and demonise Saudi Arabia".

Prince Faisal bin Farhan, Saudi's foreign minister, also had shrugged off the rumours on normalising ties with Israel. While taking part in MED 2020, an annual international forum held every year in Italy's capital Rome, on Friday, the prince said that his country was open to full normalisation with Israel if, and only if there "is a peace deal that delivers a Palestinian state with dignity and with a workable sovereignty that Palestinians can accept."

Normalising ties with the Muslim countries across the globe is greatly desired by Israel which seeks international legitimisation for its military occupation, that is considered as the world's longest, in modern times.

Though a few of the countries has made rapprochement with the Jewish state, Israel is still facing a stigma with several major opponents in and outside the region.

Qatari foreign minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani had recently said that the Abraham Accords is not considered as helping the Palestinian cause.

"I don't see that the normalisation of ties between Qatar and Israel is going to add value to the Palestinian issue," said the minister.

The minister added that Qatar had a pragmatic relationship with Israel aimed at facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid and development support to Palestinian people.

"For the time being this relationship is enough to benefit our brothers in Palestine."

On November 29, which is annually observed as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People since 1978, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had said, "Pakistan will not recognise Israel until we get a just and fair settlement according to the will of the people of Palestine and the resolutions of the UN."

Time and again, Turkey president Rajab Tayyib Erdogan has declared his country's support to the "oppressed Palestinian people". In a recent speech, during the opening session of Turkey's parliament, the AKP leader said " we consider it an honour on behalf of our country and nation to express the rights of the oppressed Palestinian people on every platform, with whom we have lived for centuries."

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