Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said that Palestinians should either accept peace proposals or “shut up,” Israeli media reported.
According to Israel’s Channel 10 news on Sunday, Salman made the remarks while on a trip to New York last month where he met with several Jewish leaders.
“For the past 40 years, the Palestinian leadership has missed opportunities again and again, and rejected all the offers it was given,” the Crown Prince said. “It’s about time that the Palestinians accept the offers, and agree to come to the negotiating table — or they should shut up and stop complaining.”
He also said that the subject of Palestinian is not currently on top of the government in Riyadh’s agenda.
“There are much more urgent and more important issues to deal with — such as Iran,” he added.
In an interview with the TIME magazine published on April 5, the first in line to the Saudi throne spoke of the prospect of Riyadh-Tel Aviv relations, describing the regime’s conflict with the Palestinians as the only obstacle to the normalization of ties with Israel.
The remarks come days after bin Salman, in an interview with the Atlantic, attempted to put Israeli and Palestinian land claims on an equal footing in a dramatic shift in Riyadh’s long-held position on Palestine, saying Israelis, like Palestinians, have the “right” to have “their own homeland.”
Saudi Arabia has been the main sponsor of the Arab Peace Initiative, which envisions a so-called two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
However, prior to bin Salman, no senior Saudi official had publicly accepted that Israel has a right to any land.
In recent months, the kingdom has been gradually softening its public posture toward Israel in what analysts describe as an attempt by Riyadh to prepare public opinion at home and elsewhere for potential normal relations with Israel.
Recent reports also suggest that Saudi Arabia has taken up an active role in US attempts to scramble a “peace” deal between the Israelis and Palestinians to get rid of the decades-long conflict, which Riyadh views as a stumbling block to overt relations with Tel Aviv.