Prince Muhammad bin Salman is a good partner for Netanyahu on the issue of Iran and Palestine
"But I think Netanyahu policies on the two issues are bad for Israel."04 Mei 2018 21:22
Menachem Klein, professor in political sciences at Bar Ilan University, Israel, poses with the background of the image of Al-Aqsa in Borobudur Hotel, Jakarta, December 15, 2015. (Faisal Assegaf/Albalad.co)
During his visit in the US last month, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman made two controversial comments.
First, he claimed the right of Israel to exist as well as Palestine and other countries in an exclusive interview with the Atlantic.
Then during a meeting with the Jewish leaders in New York on 27 March, Prince Muhammad told them that the issue of Palestine is not the main agenda for Saudi Arabia. He said Iran is more urgent and very important to handle. He also said the Palestinian leadership must accept the peace proposal from the US President Donald Trump or they have to shut up and stop to complain.
Dr Menachem Klein, professor of political science at Bar-Ilan University, Israel, acknowledges that Prince Muhammad bin Salman has a similar view with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
"Prince Muhammad bin Salman is a good partner for Netanyahu in term of Israel launch a war against Iran. Also on the issue of Palestine," he said on Tuesday, during the interview with Faisal Assegaf from Albalad.co via WhatsApp. "But I think Netanyahu policies on the two issues are bad for Israel."
Do you see there are signals that show the relationship between Israel and Saudi is growing warmer?
I don't see any normalization between the two coountries. Air India started flying to India over Saudi Arabia aerospace. There is some intelligence cooperation between the two countries, most against Iran. Muhammad bin Salman expressed his view in favor of Trump deal, he said the Palestinians should accept Trump's deal, but beyond that nothing happens.
Do yu think those latest developments are good for Israel?
Agreement with the Palestinians is the key elemnet of our integration in the area. So, it does not create a big change we had these small steps of kind of normalization with the Saudis. Only a cmprehensive agreement with the Palestinians may help Israel to achieve much more normalization, much more integration in the area.
Even then, it will not be fully integration because Israeli is very different than the Arab countries, but still it will be much better as long as the Israelis have the illusion that they can continue occupying the Palestinians without paying anything, and this kind of normalization I think in the long run it is very bad for the Israelis.
In an interview with the Atlantic, Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman recognized the right of Israel to exist. Do you think that is a revolutionary view from an Arab leader?
Egypt and Jordan signed the peace agreement with Israel. They recognized the right of Israel to exist. the PLO recognized the State of Israel and the Jeiwsh state. So, it is not unprecedented. Even the PLO recognized Israel without Israel recognize the right of Palestinians to build their own state. So, it's something symbolic but not revolutionary.
But do you think the relationship between Israel and Saudi will be better after Prince Muhammad bin Salman became the king?
In Arab and muslim countries, the king or the president can not go all the along against public opinion. So, if the public opinion does not accept Israeli control over Al-Aqsha and the normalization with Israel, Muhammad bin Salman can not make it.
Do you think Prince Muhammad bin Salman will be dare to sign the peace agreement with Israel?
In exchange for signing peace, if he offers peace he has to get something from Israel. Except attacking Iran, I don't know what he can get form Israel.
Do you think the two countries will cooperate to attack Iran?
This happens without peace agreement. I assume this happened. Actually, Israeli is seeking for the war against Iran or a big operation against Iran. Netanyahu is seeking for that, Lieberman is seeking for that, the Saudis are looking for it. So, I am quite sure that they prepare even without the peace agreement. It is uncondition in peace treaty.
What is the main precondition for both countries to cooperate for attacking Iran?
The main precondition is Trump support and that seems Trump leaned to watch supporting such an attack. Israel escalated its conflict with Iran in Syria tonight. Netanyahu is going to give a speech in ten minutes or so. It looks that Israelis are seeking the war against Iran or escalating the conflict with in Syria to watch a total war with Iran.
If the war happen between Israel and Iran, does it mean Saudi Arabia succeeded to exploit Israel to reach its aim?
I think it is not to exploit, it is a cooperation between two sides against the joint enemy.
What kind of cooperation can be provided by Saudi Arabia?
Letting Israeli airforces to fly over Saudi Arabia to attack Iran.
Do you think the cooperation already happened in Israeli strike against Syria tonight?
In Syria there is no cooperation I think.
Do you think Saudi Arabia is really afraid about Iran presence in Syria?
The Iranians are going to stay in Syria. I don't know why the Saudis are afraid from Iranians staying in Syria. Their interest was against Basyar Assad.
Can we conclude Prince Muhammad bin Salman is a good partner for Netanyahu on the issue of Palestine and Iran?
Prince Muhammad bin Salman is a good partner for Netanyahu in term of Israel launch a war against Iran. Also on the issue of Palestine. But I think Netanyahu policies on the two issues are bad for Israel.
Israel must end her occupation, let Palestinians have a state next to us. We should not continue the occupation and apartheid by other means, by having a bantustan.