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'Palestinian issue was and remains the central issue for Arab countries,' says Saudi crown prince

Remarks come during address at Arab League Summit

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Arab League summit, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, May 19, 2023. (Photo: Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS)

Addressing the Arab League Summit on Friday, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS, stressed his kingdom’s commitment to the establishment of an Arab state – “Palestine” – with East Jerusalem as its capital.

“We will not delay in providing assistance to the Palestinian people in recovering their lands, restoring their legitimate rights and establishing an independent state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital,” MBS stated.

Prior to 1967, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan controlled the eastern half of Jerusalem, including the Old City with sacred sites.

“The Palestinian issue was and remains the central issue for Arab countries, and it is at the top of the kingdom’s priorities,”  the Saudi crown prince affirmed.

His remarks come amid an intense effort by the U.S. Biden administration to negotiate a diplomatic breakthrough between Saudi Arabia and the Jewish state.

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, who recently visited Saudi Arabia, stressed that a Saudi-Israeli normalization agreement was an important national security priority for Washington.

Arab leaders have traditionally linked diplomatic progress with Israel to the peace process between the Jewish state and the Palestinian Authority. However, the historic Arab-Israeli Abraham Accords produced four separate Arab-Israeli peace agreements in 2020, despite the lack of peace between Jerusalem and Ramallah.

MBS previously hinted that his nation is prepared to eventually normalize diplomatic ties with Israel, which will likely involve a complex process that will ultimately depend upon strong Saudi ties with the American government.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also increasingly pushed for a Saudi-Israeli peace agreement, calling it one of the priorities of his coalition.

“If I return to lead the State of Israel on your behalf, I intend to bring about full peace agreements with Saudi Arabia and also with other Arab countries,” said Netanyahu during his campaign, prior to the November elections.

The Israeli premier believes that Saudi-Israeli normalization would dramatically transform the Middle East and could facilitate a diplomatic agreement between Jerusalem and the Palestinian Authority, led by President Mahmoud Abbas.

“It will be a quantum leap for an overall peace between Israel and the Arab world, it will change our region in ways that are unimaginable,” Netanyahu said during an Al Arabiya interview.

“And I think it will facilitate, ultimately, a Palestinian-Israeli peace. I believe in that. I intend to pursue it,” Netanyahu added.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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