'Saudis see the success of Israel, and want to be like them'

Returning from Saudi Arabia, activist Ken Abramowitz says: 'Deal of the century can help Gulf states have relationship with Israel.'

Yoni Kempinski ,

Ken Abramowitz
Ken Abramowitz
Yoni Kempinski

Ken Abramowitz, founder of "Save the West," spoke to Arutz Sheva at the 46th Annual Leadership Mission of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

"We were invited by the Saudi Arabian government, it was a delegation of about 58 of us, and they were extremely hospitable to us," Abramowitz said, adding that he understood the Saudis "wanted to create a good impression."

"The country is modernizing very fast, they're trying to become what I call normal. It is a monarchy, but they're listening to their people. They told us that 70% of the population is under 30, and people want change. They have iPhones and they see the rest of the world and they want to be like the rest of the world. Very encouraging change going on."

When asked about how the Saudis see Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Abramowitz explained: "There's a few issues going on. One is they just want to be normal like other countries, that's one issue. Another issue is they want to become more innovative and creative. They look around the world and they - they didn't say this, but they in effect said this - they see the success of Hong Kong - except for the protests of course. They see the success of Singapore, they see the success of Israel, and they say, 'We want to be like them.'"

Regarding the "deal of the century," Abramowiz said: "You have to look at it on several different levels. but one level to look at it is just a dialogue, even a dialogue that accomplishes nothing. It might give them a smokescreen for the Arabs, the Sunni Arabs, to have direct relations with Israel in a public way." He noted: "Now they have direct relations in a not-so-public way, and so it provides a smokescreen, if they want to use that smokescreen for that purpose."

However, he added that "the deal of the century will never come to fruition for many reasons, but the Palestinian Authority basically has told its people for two generations that their goal is to take over Israel. The goal is not to have a Palestinian state and live side by side Israel."

"Also, a Palestinian state if it were actually independent, it would get taken over by Iran through Hezbollah or Hamas. So there actually cannot be a Palestinian state. But hopefully the deal of the century just creates enough discussion so that the Sunni Arab countries like Saudi Arabia can feel that they have direct formal relations with Israel above ground instead of below the radar screen."

The deal itself, however, "is only good for Israel if the Palestinian Authority doesn't accept it. If the Palestinian Authority actually accepted it, it's a bad deal for Israel, because Israel right now controls 60% of Judea and Samaria through Area C. In the deal of the century they give away - Israel gives away - half of Area C and goes down to 30% of Judea and Samaria instead of 60%... Right now Israel has 60, why should Israel go from 60 to 30?"

"Given the way the Middle East is, the deal makes no sense. In a perfect world where everybody's a hundred percent rational, the deal makes sense... But at least it's something people can talk about for the four years' duration and then give the cover so to speak for the Gulf States, for Saudi Arabia to form direct relations with Israel, because they need the growth, they need the innovation, they have to be like Israel. They have to employ their young people, they don't want a revolution."