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Bobby Ghosh

Saudi Arabia Is in No Rush to Recognize Israel

Expectations that the Saudis would join a group hug with Israel and the other Arab nations were always hopelessly optimistic.

Blast from the past.

Blast from the past.

Photographer: Mazen Mahdi/AFP via Getty Images

Weeks of fevered speculation that Saudi Arabia would soon begin the “normalization” of relations with Israel, in the footsteps of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan, were doused over the weekend, when a senior Saudi prince lit into the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “the last of the Western colonizing powers in the Middle East.”

Prince Turki Al-Faisal, the kingdom’s former intelligence chief, waved off the other Israeli-Arab diplomatic breakthroughs: “You cannot treat an open wound with palliatives and painkillers,” he said at a security conference in neighboring Bahrain. He was referring to the condition of Palestinians, who were being “incarcerated in concentration camps under the flimsiest of security accusations — young and old, women and men, who are rotting there without recourse to justice.” Turki accused Israel of “demolishing [Palestinian] homes as they wish and they assassinate whomever they want.”