A prominent Saudi prince harshly criticised Israel on Sunday at a Bahrain security summit that was remotely attended by Israel’s Foreign Minister, showing the challenges any further deals between Arab States and Israel face in the absence of an independent Palestinian state.
The fiery remarks by Prince Turki al-Faisal at the Manama Dialogue appeared to catch Israel’s Foreign Minister off guard, particularly as Israelis receive warm welcomes in Bahrain and the UAE following agreements to normalise ties.
Left unresolved by those deals, however, is the decades-long conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. The Palestinians view those pacts as a stab in the back from their fellow Arabs and a betrayal of their cause.
Prince Turki opened his remarks by contrasting what he described as Israel’s perception of being “peace-loving upholders of high moral principles” versus what he described as a far-darker Palestinian reality of living under a “Western colonizing” power.
Israel has “incarcerated (Palestinians) in concentration camps under the flimsiest of security accusations — young and old, women and men, who are rotting there without recourse to justice,” Prince Turki said. “They are demolishing homes as they wish and they assassinate whomever they want.”
The prince also criticised Israel’s undeclared arsenal of nuclear weapons and Israeli governments “unleashing their political minions and their media outlets from other countries to denigrate and demonise Saudi Arabia.”
Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, who spoke after Prince Turki, said- “I would like to express my regret on the comments of the Saudi representative.”
“I don’t believe that they reflect the spirit and the changes taking place in the Middle East,” he said.