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Saudi Prince Denies Report He Would Back Israel in War With Palestinians

Image: Saudi Prince Denies Report He Would Back Israel in War With Palestinians
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By    |   Thursday, 29 Oct 2015 11:37 AM

A Saudi Prince is denying news reports claiming he said he would back Israel should Palestinians go to war with the Jewish state.

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud issued a statement in Arabic and in English on his website Thursday denying the claims in a report by AWDnews.com.

The Express Tribune, a Pakistani newspaper that partners with the International New York Times, picked up the story. The website has updated its story to include the prince's denial.

But AWD was still running the original story Thursday afternoon.

The prince also accused AWD of writing false stories about him in the past.

"HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud Private office is stating that the story and the statements attributed to HRH Prince Alwaleed by AWDNews.com are wholly fabricated and false," the prince's website stated. " HRH Prince Alwaleed did not speak to the Kuwait News Agency as the story claims or any other entity, for that matter, nor has Prince Alwaleed ever made any of the statements attributed to him in the story."

The prince's website said it considers AWD "to lack any credibility or veracity as a news source."

The prince also took to Twitter, with the following tweet reportedly reading: "In response to the news of the visit to Israel: I have not and will not visit Jerusalem or pray inside it until its liberation from the Zionist enemy. And I carry an honorary Palestinian passport," he tweeted.



The original AWD story claimed the prince had spoken to the Kuwaiti Al Qabas daily newspaper on Tuesday while he was on a regional tour of Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

But an examination of both the Arabic and English versions of the news agency cited by AWD didn't reveal the supposed quotes, Middle East Eye reported.

The story was picked up by several news agencies and went viral on social media.

Concerns over the Iran nuclear deal in Israel and Saudi Arabia have spurred talk that the two countries have similar interests in the region, but, "more generally and partly owing to the rise of online media outlets and sources, there has been an observable increase in inaccurate stories from and on the Middle East as pundits seek to settle political scores inside the region or beyond," Middle East Eye wrote.

According to the AWD story, the prince said, "I will side with the Jewish nation and its democratic aspirations in case of outbreak of a Palestinian 'intifada' [uprising].

"I shall exert all my influence to break any ominous Arab initiatives set to condemn Tel Aviv, because I deem the Arab-Israeli entente and future friendship necessary to impede the Iranian dangerous encroachment," he reportedly had continued.

The purpose of his tour would have been to gather support for Saudi-backed rebels in Syria, the Express Tribune said in its original story.

"The whole Middle East dispute is tantamount to matter of life and death for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from my vantage point, and I know that Iranians seek to unseat the Saudi regime by playing the Palestinian card," according to the disputed Kuwaiti News Agency quote. "[H]ence to foil their plots Saudi Arabia and Israel must bolster their relations and form a united front to stymie Tehran's ambitious agenda."

The report came as Qatar's Foreign Minister Khalid bin Mohammed al-Attiyah told Al-Jazeera earlier said this week Israeli "provocation" on the Temple Mount offends Muslims around the world, according to the Times of Israel.

Jewish activists' visits to the site are at the center of a current round of violence at a spot considered sacred by both Jews and Muslims.

"You are offending 1.5 billion Muslims when you are talking about the Masjid Al-Aqsa [the Al-Aqsa Mosque]… and we have raised the flag before," he told Al Jazeera English's show "UpFront," calling the violence at Temple Mount a "third intifada" that could turn into "the worst intifada."

The Saudi prince, who has investments in media, entertainment, hotels and Citigroup, over the summer pledged his entire $32 billion fortune to charitable projects in the coming years, saying the "philanthropic pledge will help build bridges to foster cultural understanding, develop communities, empower women, enable youth, provide vital disaster relief and create a more tolerant and accepting world," according to Agence France-Presse.

He added his pledge was modeled on The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the United States.

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A Saudi Prince is denying news reports claiming he said he would back Israel should Palestinians go to war with the Jewish state.
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Thursday, 29 Oct 2015 11:37 AM
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