According to Barak Ravid of Israel’s Channel 10 News and Axios, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman shocked Jewish attendees during a meeting in New York in March, saying:
In the last several decades the Palestinian leadership has missed one opportunity after the other and rejected all the peace proposals it was given. It is about time the Palestinians take the proposals and agree to come to the negotiations table or shut up and stop complaining.
Bin Salman also slammed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, reports Ravid, citing inside sources.
Mohammed Bin Salman has risen to fame on a rocket after he was made Crown Prince in June 2017. Since he came to power, bin Salman has begun to open up the nation to more Western values — if only by inches.
According to TIME:
In June, women will drive on Saudi roads, independent from male chaperones. Music festivals and movie theaters are opening, though questions remain about separate seating for men and women. The kingdom’s religious police are being reined in. In a setting as sterile and controlled as Saudi Arabia, these modest changes have generated genuine enthusiasm among activists, many of whom had been skeptical of bin Salman.
However, the Saudi government has also continued to conduct itself in a manner more befitting a dictatorship.
The New York Times reports that in November, a number of Saudi businessmen and royals were imprisoned in the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton at the behest of bin Salman, some of whom were allegedly manipulated or forced into handing over “more than $100 billion” collectively.
This act was billed as an “anti-corruption campaign,” according to the Saudi government — although some critics say it was the opposite, a move designed to gather power.
Some who were there allege shocking behavior, reports The New York Times:
In the early days of the crackdown, at least 17 detainees were hospitalized for physical abuse and one later died in custody with a neck that appeared twisted, a badly swollen body and other signs of abuse, according to a person who saw the body.
Other matters still eclipse Saudi Arabia’s apparent progress. In 2014, activist Raif Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for “insulting Islam,” reports BBC. He has yet to be released, and in January 2015, he was lashed 50 times.
In January, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director of Campaigns Samah Hadid said:
If the Saudi Arabian authorities are truly intent on pushing through reforms and positive changes, they should immediately release Raif Badawi and all prisoners of conscience being held simply for airing their opinions freely.
As the Saudi Arabian government moves into the 21st century, it appears to be lurching back and forth between adopting Western values and hanging on to dictatorial practices.
Hopefully, progress will outweigh the gravity of history, and bin Salman’s remarks regarding Palestinians needing to accept Israeli/U.S. peace offers are genuine.