JERUSALEM — In a shocking televised monologue, a senior member of the Saudi royal household and former ambassador to Washington accused Palestinian leaders of betraying their folks, signaling an erosion of Saudi help for a difficulty lengthy thought-about sacrosanct.
“The Palestinian trigger is a simply trigger however its advocates are failures, and the Israeli trigger is unjust however its advocates have confirmed to achieve success,” the royal, Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, stated in the primary episode of a three-part program, which aired Monday on the Saudi-controlled Al Arabiya satellite tv for pc channel.
“That sums up the occasions of the final 70 or 75 years,” the prince stated.
Prince Bandar’s 40-minute program on Monday and a sequel that aired Tuesday gave the impression to be a means for the dominion to shift its narrative of the Israeli-Palestinian battle with out having to place it within the mouths of any present officers.
Prince Bandar, 71, holds no present authorities place, however he served because the Saudi ambassador to Washington from 1983 to 2005, when he grew so near the Bush household that he was jokingly known as “Bandar Bush.”
He later headed the Saudi intelligence company, and an individual acquainted with the connection stated that he had overseen Saudi Arabia’s clandestine relationship with Israel. Two of his youngsters are actually Saudi ambassadors, Princess Reema bint Bandar in Washington and Prince Khalid bin Bandar in London.
Specialists stated that Prince Bandar wouldn’t have obtained a lot airtime on Al Arabiya, which is predicated in Dubai, had his message not jibed with the needs of Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Prince Bandar stated his remarks have been a response to the Palestinian management’s condemnation of the latest American-brokered agreements to normalize relations between Israel and two shut Saudi allies, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
The agreements, signed at a ceremony on the White Home garden final month, laid the groundwork for the 2 Gulf nations to ascertain open diplomatic and financial ties with Israel after years of under-the-table contacts. The accords didn’t tackle the way forward for the Palestinians, whose demand for statehood had lengthy been thought-about a prerequisite for additional Israeli acceptance by the Arab world.
Prince Bandar’s extraordinary indictment got here amid a broader shift in Israel’s relationship with Arab states, a few of which now see the Israelis much less as usurpers of Arab lands than as worthwhile companions in commerce and within the rivalry with Iran.
Saudi Arabia has no diplomatic relations with Israel, and Saudi, Israeli and American officers have stated that they don’t count on the dominion to normalize ties quickly. However Saudi Arabia, lengthy seen as an unwavering supporter of the Palestinians, has softened its stance towards Israel lately, which many within the Center East count on might pave the way in which for eventual normalization.
Driving the shift is Crown Prince Mohammed, who has stated that each Israelis and Palestinians have the proper to their very own land and that Israel’s safety and financial pursuits overlap with these of Arab states.
The dominion greenlighted the Emirati and Bahraini strikes, and the state-controlled Saudi information media praised the accords. Saudi media have additionally produced content material lately about Israel and Jewish historical past within the Center East, matters previously thought-about taboo.
Palestinian officers denounced the agreements as a betrayal, and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority accused Gulf leaders of turning their backs on the Palestinians.
On the tv program, Prince Bandar dismissed the Palestinian response as a “lowly degree of discourse,” including that it was not shocking since that was how rival Palestinian factions handled one another.
He emphasised the many years of Saudi help for the Palestinians, which he characterised as a one-way avenue.
“I consider that we in Saudi Arabia, performing on our good will, have all the time been there for them,” he stated. “Each time they requested for recommendation and assist, we would supply them with each with out anticipating something in return, however they’d take the assistance and ignore the recommendation.”
He added, “I believe it’s only honest to the Palestinian folks to know some truths that haven’t been mentioned or have been stored hidden.”
The preliminary Palestinian response to the prince’s statements was muted.
Saeb Erekat, a senior official within the Palestine Liberation Group and its veteran chief negotiator, shared the Bandar program on Twitter, saying it was everybody’s proper to look at and that the Palestinian response would come after the third episode. That response, Mr. Erekat stated, can be factual and “scientific” and wouldn’t demonize anyone.
Prince Bandar provided a rambling and selective historical past of the Palestinian battle, saying that the Palestinians “all the time wager on the dropping facet.”
His survey, interspersed with archival pictures and pictures, cited the contacts between Haj Amin al-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem and an early Palestinian nationalist chief, and the Nazis within the 1930s, including, “everyone knows what occurred to Hitler and Germany.”
The prince additionally blasted Yasir Arafat, the late Palestinian chief, for embracing the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, regardless of Kuwait’s report of welcoming the Palestinians. And he accused Mr. Arafat’s P.L.O. of working more durable to take over Jordan and Lebanon than to liberate Palestine.
Whereas there may be broad settlement that Mr. al-Husseini collaborated with the Nazis in opposition to Zionism, historians differ on the importance of his relationship with Nazi leaders.
Prince Bandar additionally appeared to criticize Palestinians who fled or have been compelled to depart throughout the struggle surrounding Israel’s institution in 1948, saying that Saudi Arabia had urged them to remain and provided them cash and weapons.
Within the second installment of this system on Tuesday evening, he continued his diatribe in regards to the Palestinians’ historical past of missed alternatives, declaring, “It’s not our fault that God gave them such leaders.”
A Palestinian official, talking on the situation of anonymity due to the diplomatic sensitivities concerned, criticized what he known as the prince’s distorted historical past. The official stated the Palestinian refugees had run for his or her lives, as in any struggle.
Martin S. Indyk, a former United States ambassador to Israel who was answerable for Center East coverage throughout the Clinton administration and who labored carefully with Prince Bandar when he was ambassador to Washington, stated the prince had by no means forgiven the Palestinians for siding with Saddam Hussein after he invaded Kuwait.
“For Prince Bandar, that was the unique betrayal,” Mr. Indyk stated. “He clearly couldn’t stand by after they accused the U.A.E. of betrayal.”
Mr. Indyk stated he doubted this system foreshadowed an imminent Saudi transfer to normalize relations with Israel.
“However Bandar is a crucial consultant of the outdated guard within the Saudi royal household,” he stated. “So it’s a sign that there might be a supportive atmosphere for such a transfer,” every time the Saudi management decides to make it.
Isabel Kershner reported from Jerusalem, and Ben Hubbard from Beirut.