Israel and Saudi Arabia still have no official diplomatic relations, but the future monarch of the oil-rich kingdom appeared to unofficially recognize the Jewish state in remarks to American media this week.
We say "unofficial" because it's still not a matter of official policy. At the same time, the Crown Prince expressing personal views in his official capacity is, well, "official."
In an interview with the US magazine The Atlantic, Prince Mohammed bin Salman was asked if he believes the Jewish people have a right to a state of their own on their ancestral homeland.
Now, it's already something for liberal mainstream media outlets to refer to this land as the "ancestral homeland" of the Jewish people, which both The Atlantic and Reuters did. This demonstrates that the Palestinian narrative, which denies any Jewish connection to this land, is losing ground.
But Prince Mohammed's response was even more telling.
"I believe the Palestinians and the Israelis have the right to have their own land. But we have to have a peace agreement to assure the stability for everyone and to have normal relations," he said.
Prince Mohammed still wants a Palestinian Arab state in the so-called "West Bank" and Gaza, but has no problem with the State of Israel existing on the rest of the land as the nation-state of the Jewish people.
It is a major breakthrough for a top Arab leader to be saying such things publicly.
But Prince Mohammed went further, telling The Atlantic that he looks forward to the conclusion of an Israel-Palestinian peace deal so that the Jewish state and its Arab neighbors can finally start working together openly.
"There are a lot of interests we share with Israel and if there is peace, there would be a lot of interest between Israel and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries," the future Saudi ruler added.
For more on this topic, see Page 7 of the April 2018 issue of Israel Today Magazine >>