A Saudi Prince Declares Independence From Old Obligations

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(Bloomberg Opinion) — This week, in a three-part series on government-controlled Al Arabiya television, Saudi Arabia served the Palestinian leadership with a writ of divorce and a stinging bill of particulars that explained the break-up. Delivered by Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the country’s leading elder statesman, it brutally laid out the failures of Palestinian leaders going back more than 70 years. It also suggests the futility of present Palestinian policies and the grim future it will bring the people it is supposed to represent.

No Arab government has ever issued such a harsh public denunciation of the Palestinian movement. Bandar, a longtime former Saudi ambassador to Washington and former secretary general of the Saudi National Security Council is now a private citizen, but Israeli intelligence figures and other experts I asked with were in no doubt that he was speaking for the Palace and, more specifically, Crown Prince Muhammed ben Salman. Indeed, the director of the Crown Prince’s bureau, Badr Al-Asaker, publicly praised the series as “full of facts.”

Bandar spoke in Arabic, to make sure these facts reached every country in the region, with English subtitles for an international audience. He began by affirming Saudi support “for all legitimate rights of the Palestinian people,” and chronicled the ways in which his government has stood steadfast during decades of futility and regression. “The Palestinian cause is a just cause but its advocates are failures,” he said. “The Israeli cause is unjust but its advocates have proven to be successful.”

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