JERUSALEM, Israel – Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) said Israel is a “potential ally” in a wide-ranging interview published Thursday.
"For us, we hope that the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians is solved," the prince told the American magazine The Atlantic, according to a transcript issued by the official Saudi Press Agency.
"We don't look at Israel as an enemy, we look to them as a potential ally, with many interests that we can pursue together... But we have to solve some issues before we get to that."
Saudi Arabia does not have diplomatic relations with Israel, and MBS reiterated his position that Israel must first make peace with the Palestinians before the two countries establish ties.
Still, relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel have blossomed under the shadow of the Abraham Accords, a series of normalization agreements Israel signed with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco. Saudi Arabia regularly allows Israel to cross its airspace to travel to Gulf countries.
Best-selling author and Mideast analyst Joel Rosenberg believes Saudi Arabia is considering how to move forward with its relationship with Israel.
“I believe the Saudis are weighing [this] right now at the highest levels. Is it in their national interests to make peace with Israel?” Rosenberg told CBN News. “The Saudis are moving towards normalization, but they're not there yet. And I think there's going to be a lot of reporting we still need to do.”
While Israel is sworn enemies with Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iran are waging an ongoing struggle for power and influence in the Middle East. The crown prince reportedly discussed the kingdom’s rivalry with Iran during his interview with The Atlantic.
"They are neighbors. Neighbors forever. We cannot get rid of them, and they can't get rid of us," the prince said of Iranians. "So it's better for both of us to work it out and to look for ways in which we can coexist…Hopefully, we can reach a position that's good for both countries and is going to create a brighter future for this country and Iran.”
Why does Judaism matter and how is it connected to Christianity? Learn more here.