August 10, 2023 Special Dispatch No. 10750

Saudi Columnist In Message To Israel and U.S.: With Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman In Power There Is Tremendous Opportunity To Make Real Peace

August 10, 2023
Saudi Arabia | Special Dispatch No. 10750

Amid the reports about contacts towards a normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia, the Saudi daily 'Okaz published a column by Syrian political analyst Rami Khalifa Al-'Ali titled "Isn't It Time for Real Peace?". In this column Al-'Ali criticizes the Israeli policy which, he argues, strives to attain normalization with the Arabs without recognizing the rights of the Palestinian people. He calls on Israel to change this policy and achieve real coexistence with the Palestinians, so as to attain "the hoped-for peace of the brave." Israel and the U.S., he adds, must realize that there is currently a tremendous and one-time opportunity to achieve genuine peace in the Middle East, thanks to the charismatic personality of Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman and his new approach to the development of the region.

The following are translated excerpts from Al-'Ali's column:[1]

The column in the 'Okaz daily

"The Arab-Israeli conflict is considered to be one of the longest-standing conflicts in the world, and it has caused much pain, killing and destruction in the region. Since the Nakba, many different political currents have come to power in Tel Aviv, but none of them recognized that there is another people in the land of Palestine entitled to its own existence, identity and homeland. Israel's logic is simple: [it strives] to make changes on the ground, so that the [new] reality will be translated into agreements and contracts with it which, [in turn], legitimize the reality of injustice. But the question that Israel's leaders should ask themselves is the following: Has this succeeded in bringing peace and stability to the Hebrew state? The answer is clearly no.

"A peace that is not grounded in solid foundations is doomed to failure, and is in fact likely to become a cold peace that will keep Tel Aviv a foreign element in the region. Military superiority facilitates ceasefires, but does not bring true peace. The question that has been raised by Israeli governments for decades is 'How can we attain as many achievements as possible by imposing a certain reality [on the ground], given that Israel surpasses the Palestinians in every way, whereas the Palestinians have only the support of their [Arab] brethren  and their willpower and steadfastness? Perhaps the time has come to ask a different question: How can we [Israelis] live together in this land with the Palestinian people? And how can we become an authentic part of this region and its peoples?

"Since the Madrid Peace Conference, opportunities have been missed one after the other and have come to nothing. But today we have a real opportunity to make peace, despite the bleak security and political situation, which is due mainly to the nature of Israel's political regime. [This regime] angers not only the Palestinians but also many Israelis, who have begun to see it as a serious threat to their state.

"There are leaders in the region who take a different approach to the reality here, and who have both the will and the ability to weave the threads of peace, leaders who talk less and do more, chief of them Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman. The Prince has a plan that is not confined to the [Saudi] kingdom but includes the entire region: a plan for economic, political, social and tourism development. He is also determined to bring security and stability to the entire region, and has indeed managed to change the face of the Middle East in a very short time. This started with the Al-'Ula Summit and the reorganization of the Gulf framework, [2]  and with the last Arab [League] Summit, which helped to reorganize the Arab framework. [3] It continued with opening the gates to Tehran, which had been closed, and building bridges of cooperation from East to West. The last [manifestation] of this was the search for an international path to ending the war between Russia and Ukraine.

"True peace requires two sides. If the Palestinians have a leadership that wants peace, and there is an Arab leadership that is able to make [peace], and a charismatic figure like Muhammad Bin Salman, then this is a great opportunity that may not come again. This message is directed not only at Tel Aviv but also at Washington, which has the means and the ability to take an active role in shaping the hoped-for 'peace of the brave.'"


[1] 'Okaz (Saudi Arabia), August 9, 2023.

[2] The reference is to the January 2021 summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, held in Al-'Ula, Saudi Arabia, which ended the three-year boycott of Qatar by its neighbors. 

[3] In this summit, held in Jeddah in May 2023, Syria was readmitted to the Arab League.

Share this Report: