Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, commonly known by his initials MBS, said the Palestinians have rejected too many peace opportunities and should accept the next one they are offered.
The crown prince reportedly made the comments to a meeting of Jewish American organizations while on a trip to New York last month.
“In the last several decades the Palestinian leadership has missed one opportunity after the other and rejected all the peace proposals it was given,” he said, according to Israeli media. “It is about time the Palestinians take the proposals and agree to come to the negotiations table or shut up and stop complaining.”
His comments shocked the audience. One source told media, “People literally fell off their chairs.”
MBS has been praised and condemned since his rapid rise. At just 32, he is the heir to his father, the 82-year-old King Salman. MBS has been introducing a number of modernizing reforms since being made crown prince last year. Last October, he pledged to “end extremism very soon,” while announcing a new high-tech economic zone with an investment of $500 billion.
He has also been heavily criticized for his mismanagement of Saudi Arabia’s ongoing war in Yemen, as well as for human rights abuses. Human Rights Watch slammed MBS for presiding over 48 beheadings so far in 2018.
Yet, on the issue of Israel and the Palestinians, MBS seems pragmatic. He told the meeting of Jewish leaders that Saudi Arabia has bigger priorities right now, namely Iran.
He also stressed that in order for full normalization to take place, Israel would need to make significant progress on peace with the Palestinians.