Saudi prince to visit Israel in unprecedented overture
“All my Muslim brothers and sisters must understand that it (is) a moral imperative for all …to desist their absurd hostility toward Jewish people,” the Prince was quoted as saying.
In an unprecedented overture, Saudi Arabian prince and wealthy media tycoon Talal Bin Waleed announced Thursday that he is planning a seven-day-trip to the Jewish State and urged all the Arab nations in the region to “strive for a more peaceful, prosperous and homogenous Middle East,” according to Saudi Arabian news media.
“All my Muslim brothers and sisters must understand that it became a moral imperative for all inhabitants of war-torn Middle-East, namely Arabs, to desist their absurd hostility toward Jewish people,” Okaz reported the prince saying, an Arabic-language Saudi news agency.
“My sovereign, King Salman has instructed me to open a direct dialogue with Israel’s intellectual (community), building amicable ties with our Israeli neighbors,” Bin Waleed added.
Bin Waleed also mentioned in his statements that he hopes his visit would herald a new beginning in “peace and fraternity” between Israel and its Arab neighbors, stressing the importance of fostering better relations between each other’s military and intelligence communities.
The Saudi prince said that he plans to pray at the Al-Aksa mosque located on top of the Temple Mount when he visits Jerusalem’s old city, the holiest site in Judaism and the third holiest site in Islam.
It was not clear when the Saudi prince would embark on his visit to Israel.
Although the two are considered to be historic enemies, with Saudi Arabia refusing to recognize the Jewish State’s right to exist, they never-the-less have engaged in a campaign of clandestine diplomacy in an effort to thwart Iran’s growing influence in the Middle East.
In fact, Israel and Saudi Arabia have held five secret meetings since the beginning of 2014 to discuss the common threat the Islamic Republic posses to the region, it was revealed for the first time in early June at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, according to Bloomberg.
The five bilateral meetings over the last 17 months occurred in India, Italy and the Czech Republic.