JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – For the first time since 2019, the next king of Saudi Arabia has given an exclusive interview with a major American television network.
I can tell you that after spending four hours with him over two separate meetings, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) speaks excellent English.
However, in every Western TV interview I’ve seen MBS give in the past, he has spoken in Arabic.
Clearly, MBS had some important things to say and by speaking in English he wanted to make sure he was speaking directly to the American people and not through a translator.
And the most important thing MBS said was this: He wants to make peace with the Jewish state of Israel, and he believes this is, in fact, possible and not a pipe dream.
“Every day we get closer” to an historic peace and normalization deal with Israel, MBS told Fox News anchor Bret Baier in an exclusive interview that aired on Wednesday evening, East Coast time.
“There is support from President Biden’s administration to get to that point [of peace with Israel],” MBS said.
“For us, the Palestinian issue is very important. We need to solve that part. And we have good negotiations that continue.”
“Until now, we’re going to see where we go,” MBS said. “We hope that we will reach a place that will ease the life of the Palestinians and get Israel as a player in the Middle East.”
Baier asked the crown prince about reports that the Saudis “had suspended talks” over normalization with Israel.
MBS flatly denied such reports (which I will note were published by many Israeli news outlets, but that ALL ISRAEL NEWS did not publish because we did not believe the unsourced report from an Arabic news outlet based in London).
“No, no, no, that’s not true,” MBS said.
“So, do you think – if you were to characterize it – are you close?” Baier asked.
“Every day we get closer,” MBS said with a smile.
The crown prince’s interview with Fox News immediately became a big story here in Israel, in Saudi Arabia, and throughout the Middle East.
Indeed, on Wednesday evening it was the front-page lead story on the website of Al Arabiya, the largest Saudi newspaper.
Joel C. Rosenberg is the editor-in-chief of ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and the President and CEO of Near East Media. A New York Times best-selling author, Middle East analyst, and Evangelical leader, he lives in Jerusalem with his wife and sons.