A senior Saudi official said there was never a better time for a peace deal between Israelis and Arab, stressing that Riyadh and Tel Aviv have common interests and enemies.
In an interview with Israeli daily, Yedioth Achronoth, Anwar Eshki, who regularly meets with Israelis, said the peace deal could take place only if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would announce his support of the Arab peace initiative in front of the United Nations.
Eshki gave the interview in the Qatari capital, Doha, the daily said, noting that the Saudi official who was Saudi Ambassador to Washington, has been in contact with Israelis whose identities he prefers not to disclose, and met the Director-General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Dore Gold in conferences abroad.
“I assure you, from personal knowledge, that there is now a real opportunity for peace,” he said in an exclusive interview with Yedioth Ahronoth.
“Everyone around wants to reach an agreement. I can tell you that in the era of the former Saudi king, Abdullah, who formulated and published the Arab Peace Initiative, which was adopted by all the countries in the Arab world, there was no chance of reaching a comprehensive and true peace. Today, in the era of King Salman, it is possible. The circumstances have changed. The prospects and opportunities have improved immeasurably,” the Israeli daily quoted Eshki as saying.
“Netanyahu should announce from the UN podium in New York that he accepts and adopts the 2002 peace initiative of the Saudi king, which offers Israel a full peace and full normalization with the Arab world control in return for a full withdrawal from the occupied territories. The Saudi initiative solves your conflict with the Palestinians.”
Meanwhile, Eshki told the daily that “even the leadership of Saudi Arabia has changed, and the new government is signaling to you that he is determined to achieve peace. We have common interests and we can easily designate common enemies.”
“Saudi Arabia will commence a procedure the goal of which will be to encourage Arab countries to begin implementing normalization with Israel, which will reflect positively on your relationship with Egypt, Jordan and other countries.”
Eshki, who also served as he served as Prince Bandar bin Sultan’s special adviser from 1985 to 2002, said that “it’s now or never for peace.”
“If peace is not achieved during Netanyahu’s tenure, I’m telling you that peace will not be achieved at all. You and we will miss out on the opportunity, as this opportunity will not return.”