JEDDAH: Former Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki Al-Faisal called for sanctions on Israel while criticizing Western states for their double standards when it comes to Russian aggression on Ukraine and not with similar aggression against Palestine.
When asked whether or not the international community should be imposing sanctions on Israel as it is with Russia, Prince Turki responded “absolutely,” adding “I don’t see what the difference is there between the two.
“Aggression is aggression, whether it is committed by Russia or by Israel, and yet there has been no such effort to sanction Israel,” he said on the debut episode of the latest season of “Frankly Speaking” with new host Katie Jensen.
Despite six Arab states normalizing ties with Israel, there has been no change in its policies towards Palestinians, despite what was promised in speeches and declarations.
“There is no sign whatsoever that appeasing Israel is going to change their attitude,” the prince said. “The Palestinian people are still occupied, they are still being imprisoned willy-nilly by the Israeli government. Attacks and assassinations of Palestinian individuals take place almost on a daily basis.
“The stealing of Palestinian land by Israel continues despite the assurances that Israel gave to the signatories of the peace (accord) between the UAE and Israel,” he said.
Globally, the Ukraine-Russia conflict has exposed an international hypocrisy with regards to refugees as well as sanctions, the former ambassador to the US explained.
“The way that sanctions have been placed on Russia for invading Ukraine, but no sanctions for example have been placed on Israel when it invaded Arab countries a few years back, and those are the double standards and the injustices I think that have been taking place over the years,” he explained.
Since the conflict began, UN data shows that more than 11 million people are believed to have been both internally displaced or have fled the country. As the Ukrainian refugee crisis unfolded, media outlets including CBS, the BBC, NBC News and even Al Jazeera English have laid bare a double standard in reporting when compared to Arab and Afghan refugee movements.
“But this isn’t a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan that has seen conflict raging for decades. This is a relatively civilized, relatively European city where you wouldn’t expect that hope that it's going to happen,” CBS senior foreign correspondent Charlie D’Agata said.
Al Jazeera English’s presenter also faced backlash online for stating that: “What is compelling about these people is how they’re dressed; these are prosperous, middle class people who obviously are not refugees.”
And it goes on, with NBC News correspondent Kelly Cobiella saying: “These are Christians, they are white, they’re very similar to the people that live in Poland.”
All this, and more, has flung the conflict into a broader debate on international double standards and hypocrisy when dealing with different regions.
The former intelligence chief also weighed in on the current relationship between the US and the Gulf, namely Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which has seen better days.
“When you say that Saudi Arabia has not budged on the issue of the oil problems that America is facing, basically America itself is the reason for the state that they’re in because of their energy policy,” he said.
“Biden made it a policy of the US government to cut all links to what are called the oil and gas industry and he curtailed the oil production and gas production in the US and, as we know, the US has been in the last few years the biggest producer of these two energy sources,” he said.
“We don’t want to be an instrument or a reason for instability in the oil prices as we saw in the past. So that is why the Kingdom and the other OPEC members and the OPEC+ members are sticking to the production quotas that they have assigned themselves.”