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July 16, 2015 2:17 am

Will a Saudi Prince Really Come to Israel?

avatar by Abraham H. Miller

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President Obama with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef. Photo: Screenshot.

President Obama with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef. Photo: Screenshot.

Is the Middle East going to experience another historic moment with the visit of Saudi Prince Talal bin Waleed to Israel in what could be the most significant move toward peace between the Arabs and Israelis since Anwar Sadat’s iconic trip to Israel? Or is this merely a rumor?

The Jerusalem Post ran the story of Prince Talal’s visit, subsequently ran a denial, and then scrubbed everything. What the Jerusalem Post thinks of the original story is anyone’s guess.

Unlike the Post, however, no Arab source has retracted the story. In fact, Paul Miller of the Salomon Center for American Jewish Thought contacted Moroccan Journalist, Aziz Allilou, who broke the story in the Arab world outside of Saudi Arabia. On the basis of this exchange, Mr. Miller reports that there is neither an official confirmation nor denial of the story, which originates with credible Saudi media sources in Arabic.

It is highly unlikely that the Saudi government would let the story run without a disclaimer if it were not true. And so far the story not only has legs, but it also portends the most dramatic movement toward peace in the region in recent memory.

First there is Prince Talal himself. A media tycoon and highly successful investor who frequently appears on business channels, the Saudi multibillionaire is the modern visage of Saudi Arabia. Soft spoken, impeccably dressed, his insights into the ebb and flow of international markets are highly sought after.

An Arab moderate, the prince has urged his Arab brothers and sisters to shift policy toward Israel in search of a more peaceful, prosperous, and homogenous Middle East.

This appeal was followed by a statement of cosmic proportions. According to Saudi media, the prince intends to embark on a seven-day pilgrimage of the Holy Land and pray in Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Calling for Muslims in the Middle East “to desist from their absurd hostility toward the Jewish people,” the prince went on to announce that Saudi King Salman has instructed him to open a direct dialogue with Israel’s intellectuals in pursuit of amicable ties with all of Israel’s Arab neighbors.

Prince Talal denounced the growing waves of anti-Semitism in the region and praised Israel as the region’s sole democratic entity.

The story gains credibility considering that the Saudis and the Israelis have had five “secret” meetings to discuss common defense and intelligence issues related to President Barack Obama’s policy of strengthening Iran economically while permitting the terror state to become a potential nuclear power with a breakout capacity that is unknowable.

If the prince is successful in achieving his aspirations, he will be inscribed in history as one of the Middle East’s, if not one of the world’s, great visionaries.Amid the despair in the region generated by Obama’s Iran policy, Prince Talal’s pronouncements are uplifting and portend a bright future and a potential military and intelligence cooperation that will serve as a bulwark against an Iran emboldened and strengthened by Mr. Obama’s naïve policies.

In arrogantly thinking he alone could decide the future of the Middle East, Mr. Obama has unleashed the unintended consequences that frequently shape great events: in this instance for the betterment of all the peoples of the Middle East but ultimately to the detriment of America’s interests.

Mr. Obama might awaken one day to a Middle East where America will face the diplomatic and strategic unintended consequences of his choice to embrace her enemies while rebuffing her friends.

We should applaud Prince Talal and wish him every success. May his journey open a path to the betterment of the entire region and for a lasting reconciliation between Israel and her neighbors.

If the story cannot be substantiated or is perhaps nothing more than a trial balloon, even that shows progress. For if it were true, this could well be the most promising breakthrough toward peace between Arabs and Israelis since Sadat’s speech to the Israeli Knesset. If Prince Talal will not be breaking bread with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu any time soon, it cannot be overstated how Prince Talal, a member of the Saudi royal family, condemnation of anti-Semitism and praise for Israel’s democracy, is still a giant step in the right direction.

 Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science, University of Cincinnati, and a senior fellow with the Salomon Center for American Jewish Thought. @salomoncenter. This article was originally published by The Observer. 

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  • Joseph Feld

    Arab royalty have tended to be educated in Britain, so perhaps they’re finally exhibiting some British common sense. Churchill believed the Jewish national home would help bring the Arab Middle East up-to-date with European Jewish influence. Perhaps it’s finally reaching that stage when the descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Ishmael will work together for a better future.

  • Gnomercy9

    If the saudis really want to stick it to obama, there’s no better way than detente with Israel.

  • Ralph Statum

    I know there are some of you that are Democrats and love Obama, but this is for Christians first, politics later.

    We each have to do what we think is right.

    I do pray that it doesn’t offend anybody with the truth of the message, but it has to be sent.

    If your faith comes first and your politics later, then you will appreciate this message.

    If you don’t, I’m sorry I judged you wrong.

    When we get 100,000,000, that’s one hundred million willing Christians to BOND together, voice their concerns and vote, we can take back America with God’s help.

    Become one of the One hundred million…

    Then let’s get 200 million. It can be done just by sending this email to your friends.

    Do the math. It only takes a single willing heart and a fed up SOUL.

    In 1952 President Truman established one day a year as a “National Day of Prayer.”

    In 1988 President Reagan designated the first Thursday in May of each year as The National Day of Prayer.

    In June 2007 (then) Presidential Candidate Barack Obama declared that the USA “Was no longer a Christian nation.”

    In 2009 President Obama canceled the 21st annual National Day of Prayer ceremony at the White House under the ruse of “not wanting to offend anyone”

    HOWEVER… On September 25, 2009 From 4AM until 7 PM, A National Day of Prayer FOR THE MUSLIM RELIGION Was Held on Capitol Hill, inside the White House.

    There were over 50,000 Muslims In D.C. that day. PRESIDENT OBAMA PRAYS WITH THE MUSLIMS!

    I guess it doesn’t matter if “Christians” were offended by this event – We obviously don’t count as “anyone” anymore.

    Now President Obama is encouraging schools to teach the Quran for extra credit’s while at the same time, they cannot even talk about the Bible, God, pray, or salute the American Flag.

    The direction this country is headed should strike fear in the heart of every Christian, especially knowing that the Muslim religion believes that if Christians cannot be converted, they should be annihilated, ie; wiped completely out.

  • Edna

    I agree wholeheartedly with Abraham Miller.

    Unfortunately for the U.S. People, the present White House dwellers have, due to naïveté regarding Foreign Policy, forced their allies in the Middle East to mistrust them, and for the sake of security have propelled these allies to meet, and form a plausible alliance between ex enemies.

    Whatever prestige the U.S. had in the past has become so eroded and will eventually be eradicated among pro Western Arab countries and Israel due to the ridiculous and fallacious assumptions that North Korea and now Iran will feel all warm and fuzzy towards the West.

  • David

    You had me, up until you started bashing Obama. What sir, is your alternative? Another Mid- East war? Right now, doing nothing, they are continuing to produce uranium with their centrifuges. They will have to get rid of most of their stockpiles and centrifuges under this deal. No one is trusting the Iranians. That’s why there will be inspection, in perpetuity. I heard a retired military colonel, just today, who worked in the Bush Administration, and who says that he read the entire agreement, and states that it is the most intrusive, far reaching inspection terms, that he has ever seen. He further expressed frustration with members of his own party, the Republicans, stating that they are merely opposing the deal, because it is Obama, and that they don’t have the best interests of the country at heart. I have seen him before, but unfortunately, I don’t recall his name. Moreover, no one trusted the Soviets. They had thousands of nuclear weapons. More than we had, yet we were able to deal with them. They were much more of a threat than Iran, which doesn’t even a nuclear weapon, yet.