SHARURAH, SAUDI ARABIA, SEPT. 30 -- Saudi Defense Minister Prince Sultan warned Israel today to stay out of the Persian Gulf crisis and said that if Israel and Saudi Arabia found themselves at war with Iraq, Saudi Arabia would fight in isolation and not allow Israel to come to its defense.

"Israel must stay far away totally from the gulf problem," said Sultan. He was speaking to reporters during a tour of Saudi forces at this remote southern outpost on the edge of the barren Empty Quarter near the border with Yemen.

"We will not allow Israel," the prince continued, "regardless how severe inter-Arab conflicts become, to defend us against Iraq or against anybody else -- let it be very well known, and let it be very well understood."

Sultan's remarks were viewed here as significant in part because they represent the first public comment by a senior Saudi official on the prospect that Saudi Arabia and Israel might find themselves at war against Iraq at the same time.

Sultan also indicated that the Arab world and Iraqi President Saddam Hussein may never be reconciled after what the prince described as the pillaging of Kuwait and the terrorizing of its citizens.

"The Iraqi people cannot be blamed, and the majority of the Iraqi army cannot be blamed," he said, "We know that when dictatorships disappear, so also do their deeds."

Sultan said that if Saddam could withdraw his troops from territory seized from Iran, he could now do the same thing with Kuwait.

"He put 1 million soldiers in Iran and then withdrew," Sultan said. "It would be an easy matter for him to withdraw from Kuwait -- the distance is short. If he withdraws, he will stop the bloodshed, and it will be some sort of atonement to the Arabs and the Moslems."

Sultan is the brother of King Fahd and second in line of succession after Crown Prince Abdullah. The minister's comments about Israel followed a number of recent reports speculating on how Israel might join in the fighting -- or be forced to defend itself -- if a general war breaks out in the Middle East over Iraq's occupation of Kuwait.

Some U.S. officials have expressed concern in recent weeks that Saddam might try to divide the coalition now arrayed against Iraq by attacking Israel so as to transform the conflict into an Arab-Israeli war, in which Arab states aligned with Saudi Arabia would be forced to switch sides or remain neutral.

Sultan called on the Bush administration to continue its supply of high-technology weapons to Saudi Arabia as a means of containing aggression by Iraq.

"Withdrawal {from Kuwait} will not be achieved unless superior forces are available," Sultan said, adding that this means new U.S. arms sales to the kingdom and the indefinite stationing there of multinational forces. "There is no time limit," he said.