August 6, The Iran Project -The recent visit of a Saudi Arabian official to Israel has augmented the regional countries and prominent figures’ concerns over the possibility of the normalization of ties between Riyadh and Tel Aviv.
The supposedly flourishing ties between Riyadh and Tel Aviv burst into the open last week when a prominent former official from Saudi Arabia, an Islamic monarchy that doesn’t recognize Israel, sat down with a top Israeli diplomat and the official in charge of overseeing the country’s military presence in the West Bank.
On July 22, retired Saudi General Anwar Eshki—led a delegation of academics and businessmen to Israel, where they met with Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold and IDF General Yoav Moredechai, the Coordinator of Government Activities for the Territories.
This is while, Saudi Arabia and Israel have no diplomatic relations. However, increasing reports have been surfacing about the two regimes having secret relations. Most Arab governments have no diplomatic relations with Israel. Egypt and Qatar are the only two Arab states to have open diplomatic ties with Tel Aviv.
Nasrallah harsh criticism
Riyadh’s endeavors for normalizing its ties with Tel Aviv was harshly slammed by Hezbollah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah.
Censuring Saudi Arabia for a recent visit to Israel by a delegation headed by a former military general, the senior Lebanese cleric believes that Saudi Arabia is normalizing its ties with Israel “free of charge” and “without any benefits for Palestinians.”
Nasrallah believes that Saudi Arabia has taken advantage of the ailing Arab situation, only to build relations with Israel; the price will be at the account of the Palestinians.
“We will be before a cultural disaster that allows Saudi Arabia to make peace with Israel. And this is the most dangerous thing that could happen,” he warned.
Gaza, Qatar great concern
Meanwhile, Eshki’s Israel visit was received in Gaza and Qatar with great concern.
Palestine’s Hamas movement argued that Saudi Arabia is normalizing relations with Israel and in effect accepts the continuing siege on Gaza and forgives Israel for its aggressive actions, including entering sites holy to Islam (meaning Al-Aqsa Mosque).
Hamas leaders hope that the Saudis, the leaders of the Sunni world, will feel discomfort at the warming of relations with Israel while 1.8 million Palestinians who live in Gaza suffer from Israel’s treatment.
Denying normalization of ties
Meanwhile, the retired Saudi general rejected any attempt to link his visit to Beit-ul-Moqaddas to normalizing of relations between Riyadh and Tel Aviv.
Eshki in an interview with the Al-Shams radio station, which broadcasts from Nazareth, said he came to Israel, along with other researchers from the Middle East institute he heads, after being invited by the Palestinian Authority – in particular, senior Fatah official Jibril Rajoub.
Saudis Against Normalization
In a meantime, the Eshki’s visit to Israel also was severally condemned among the Saudi people nationwide.
On July 30, a group of Saudi activists launched a hashtag trended on twitter, against the normalization with the Israeli occupation and all attempts to justify it and denouncing the Saudi delegation of Academics and businessmen visit to Israel.
Widely ticking off the visit, the protesters calling onto the Saudi government to take legal measures against the delegation. The number of the tweets published on the hashtag reached about 30 thousands.
In the end, it is worth mentioning that the Saudi Arabia’s endeavors for amending ties with Israel is an indication of Riyadh withdrawal from its stances toward Tel Aviv and its claims over considering Israel as its own enemy is just a “sheer lie”.