Saudi FM to U.S.: Cut Off Aid if Israel Doesn't End Occupation

In Newsweek interview, Prince Saud al-Faisal says U.S. has the means to persuade Israel to work for peace.

The United States should cut off its aid to Israel if the country does not end its occupation of Arab land, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister told Newsweek in comments published Friday.

In response to a question on whether the U.S. should carry out the move, Prince Saud al-Faisal said: "Why not? If you give aid to someone and they indiscriminately occupy other people's lands, you bear some responsibility."

The interview with the foreign minister, which is for the magazine's June 15 issue, was published a day after Obama vowed in a speech in Cairo Thursday to personally pursue a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Faisal added: "The United States has the means to persuade the Israelis to work for a peaceful settlement. It needs to tell them that if it is going to continue to help them, they must be reasonable and make reasonable concessions."

He went on to say that that the normalization of ties between Israel and the Arab world can only come after Israel leaves occupied land.

"If we put that [normalization] before the return of Arab land we are giving away the only chip in the hands of Arab countries," the foreign minister said.

Faisal also praised Obama's speech in Egypt to the Muslim world, saying that the U.S. "is not the same America" under his administration.