Israeli Intelligence Minister Invites Saudi Crown Prince to Visit Israel

Describing Saudi Arabia as the leader of the Arab world, Yisrael Katz proposes that the kingdom would be a sponsor of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process

By Noa Landau Dec 13, 2017 2:18 PM
Haaretz

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a graduation ceremony in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, January 25, 2017.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a graduation ceremony in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, January 25, 2017. Faisal Al Nasser/REUTERS
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Intelligence Affairs Minister Yisrael Katz invited Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to Israel.

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Katz confirmed to Haaretz that he extended the invitation in an interview to the Saudi online newspaper Elaph, however, the online publication chose to edit the invitation out.
Saudi Arabia does not have official diplomatic ties with Israel.

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Describing Saudi Arabia as the leader of the Arab world, Katz proposed that the kingdom would be a sponsor of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Katz added that Israel would be happy to participate in such negotiations.

Also on Wednesday, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman commented on U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, saying that the Palestinians have a right to East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. Salman made his comments as Arab and Muslim leaders gathered in Istanbul to discuss Trump’s decision.

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King Salman appointed his son, 32-year-old Mohammad bin Salman, also known by his initials MBS, as Saudi Arabia’s heir to the throne in June. Many expect that in the not-too-distant future, King Salman, who is elderly and ill, will step down and hand the scepter to bin Salman.

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The prince’s firm anti-Iranian position makes him an important partner to the U.S. and Israel. Several Arab websites have reported in the past few years that bin Salman has met with several top Israelis.

According to these reports, one such meeting took place in Eilat in 2015; another on the margins of the Arab summit in Jordan this March, and there are regular meetings between Saudi and Israeli officers in the joint war room where Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United States coordinate.

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Last month, Elaph published an unprecedented interview with the Israeli military chief, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, marking the first time any senior Israel Defense Forces officer, let alone the chief of staff, was interviewed by a media organization in Saudi Arabia.

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In the interview, Eisenkot called Iran the “real and largest threat to the region.” He said Israel and Saudi Arabia are in complete agreement about Iran’s intentions and noted that the two countries have never fought each other.

Noa Landau
read more: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.828759

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