Saudi official: We have to focus on our own interest

Saudi Arabia’s former intelligence chief again criticizes PA, says it now has high regard for countries such as Iran and Turkey.

Elad Benari ,

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s former intelligence chief and ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, on Wednesday said the kingdom must focus on its own interests and security while supporting the Palestinian cause.

Speaking in the final episode of a three-part interview with Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television and quoted by Reuters, Prince Bandar once again criticized Palestinian Authority leaders.

“We are at a stage in which rather than being concerned with how to face the Israeli challenges in order to serve the Palestinian cause, we have to pay attention to our national security and interests,” he said.

Prince Bandar said Palestinian Arab leaders had high regard for “new players into the picture” such as Iran and Turkey than Riyadh and other Gulf countries.

“Turkey occupies Libya and wants to liberate Jerusalem by withdrawing its ambassador from Abu Dhabi. Iran wants to liberate Jerusalem through the Houthis in Yemen or through Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria,” he said.

He spoke at length about the decades-long support of successive Saudi kings and other Gulf countries to the Palestinian cause, adding that the denial of these efforts from Palestinian leaders will not affect the attachment to the cause.

“Things are clear and we are at our limit with those guys,” he said.

In the first part of the interview, which aired on Monday, Prince Bandar slammed the leadership of the Palestinian Authority for criticizing the decision of some Gulf states to normalize ties with Israel.

“The Palestinian cause is a just cause but its advocates are failures, and the Israeli cause is unjust but its advocates have proven to be successful. That sums up the events of the last 70 or 75 years,” he was quoted as having said.

“There is something that successive Palestinian leadership historically share in common: they always bet on the losing side, and that comes at a price,” he added.

The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain both recently signed historic deals to normalize relations with Israel.

The Palestinian Authority condemned both deals, describing them as "a stab in the back of the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people.”

While Saudi Arabia has not reached any normalization agreement with Israel, recent reports indicated that the Kingdom was working behind the scenes and urged the UAE and Bahrain to reach their respective deals with the Jewish state.