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The New Arab Staff

Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan lambasts Palestinian leaders as 'failures' for rejecting normalisation

Bandar bin Sultan is the highest profile Saudi to opine on the normalisation agreements [Getty]

Date of publication: 5 October, 2020

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'Their transgression against the Gulf states' leadership with this reprehensible discourse is unacceptable,' Bandar bin Sultan said about Palestinian leaders in a scathing interview in support of Israel-Arab normalisation
A senior Saudi royal has accused the Palestinian leadership of being "failures" for opposing the recent normalisation agreement between Israel, UAE and Bahrain in a trailer for a bombshell interview given to Saudi state-owned channel Al-Arabiya.

Bandar bin Sultan, who served as the ambassador to the US from 1983 to 2005, is the most high-profile Saudi royal to intervene in the fierce debate over Gulf states' normalisation with Israel.

The agreement between Israel and the UAE is widely regarded as a betrayal of the Palestinian cause, but supporters of Abu Dhabi have fiercely defended the controversial move.

One of those is Bin Sultan, who took aim at the Palestinian leadership after their vocal criticism of the Arab states for establishing full diplomatic ties with Israel.

"Their transgression against the Gulf states' leadership with this reprehensible discourse is unacceptable," bin Sultan told the interviewer.

"The Palestinian cause is a just cause but its advocates are failures," he said.

Bin Sultan also called the Palestinian leadership's discourse "lowly" and "truly painful to hear".

"It is not surprising that they would use terms like 'betrayal' and 'stab in the back' because these are their ways in dealing with each other," he said.

The clip, which was posted on Twitter, prompted a fierce backlash from Saudi opponents and Palestinian supporters.

Bin Sultan also served as secretary general of the Saudi National Security Council, and was director general of the Saudi Intelligence Agency from 2012 to 2014.

The 71-year-old prince reportedly headed up a Saudi peace initiative presented to the Israelis following the 2014 Gaza War, which was rejected.

The Saudi leadership has given a largely muted response to the normalisation agreements, although the state-controlled media praised them both as a long-awaited "peace deal".

Analysts suspect that Saudi Arabia, under the de facto leadership of Mohammed bin Salman, played a key role in orchestrating and encouraging UAE and Bahrain to establish ties with Israel.

Despite having extensive under-the-table ties with Israel, Saudi Arabia is unlikely to sign a similar agreement while King Salman is still on the throne.

Critics have labelled the normalisation agreements as a public relations exercise for US President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and leaders of Gulf countries which helps to perpetuate Israel's occupation of the West Bank and siege of Gaza.

Despite Emirati claims that the agreement has suspended Israel's plans to annex large parts of the Palestinian territories in the West Bank, Netanyahu has categorically denied that this is the case.


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