The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote on its Facebook page under the title “Israel Speaks Arabic” that for the first time a “Jewish delegation” is to travel to Saudi Arabia at the request of the Muslim World League. Apparently, this trip is due to take place in January 2020. The question now is: what is the aim of this trip and generally speaking what goal is Riyadh pursuing behind proximity with Israel?
Considering the importance of this issue, Strategic Council Online interviewed Hassan Hanizadeh, an expert on West Asian affairs on the reasons and goals of the upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia by the Zionist regime mission.
Q: What aims do you think Riyadh is pursuing behind intimacy with Israel?
The Israeli delegation’s visit to Saudi Arabia is a prelude to establishing a formal relationship between Riyadh and Tel Aviv. This will eventually cause Saudi Arabia to do its utmost to break the taboo of diplomatic ties between the Islamic states and Israel. Therefore, Saudi Arabia intends to make arrangements for establishing relations between the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council and Israel after assessing the reaction of the Muslim World towards the Israeli delegation’s visit to Riyadh.
Q: How do you assess the reaction of public opinion? Have grounds been prepared to accomplish this task?
Saudi Arabia has forged political and economic cooperation with the Zionist regime for more than two years now. During this time, Israeli goods were marketed in many Islamic and Arab states under Saudi trademark and now the time has come to establish open diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel. Hence, it is likely for the two countries to exchange informal delegations to the two capitals in the coming months. However, during the past two years, former Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir traveled to Occupied Palestine three times and provided the means to establish relations between Riyadh and Tel Aviv.
Q: How effective is the “Deal of the Century” in bringing Israel and Saudi Arabia closer and in preparation for this visit?
It should be noted that one of the sides of the triangle to implement the Deal is Saudi Arabia. The deal has been prepared by the US President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, with Riyadh accepting the financial burden of implementing the deal. Trump and Netanyahu maintain that the “Deal of the Century” cannot be implemented without the official cooperation of Saudi Arabia. For this reason, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain are prepared to open Israeli embassies in their capital cities in the near future.
Q: What is your analysis of Bin Salman’s role in Israeli related issues?
Bin Salman has played a very significant role in the preparation of the Deal of the Century as well as Saudi-Israeli cooperation. Bin Salman has a close relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and even on the orders of the Saudi Crown Prince a massive propaganda campaign was launched by the Saudis to reinstate the Likud party in power in the recent Knesset elections. Therefore, Bin Salman has a close relationship with both Israel and the Zionist lobby.
Q: What about Washington’s approach towards the Palestinian issue?
The United States has been striving to implement the Deal of the Century scheme. The recognition of Bait ul-Moqaddas (Jerusalem) as the capital of the Zionist regime by the United States and the recent attempt by Trump to identify the Golan Heights as part of Occupied Palestine are part of the US President’s commitment to the Zionist lobby. Donald Trump seems to be closer than all other US presidents to Israel and the Zionist lobby. Therefore, Trump will try to make the Deal of the Century operational in the one year left from his tenure to ensure his reelection for another term.
Q: Do you think the scheduled visit of the Israeli delegation to Saudi Arabia could turn into a scandal for Riyadh or do you believe Saudi Arabia has left this stage behind?
Unfortunately, over the past eight years, i.e., after the start of the Arab uprisings known as the Arab Spring the people of the Arab world have focused their attention on internal geographical regions. The Arab world and the Islamic world are now less concerned with Palestine and the events occurring in the Islamic world. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia, and her dependent media trumpet that the establishment of relations between Arab states and the Zionist regime has become a marginal political event. The problem with the Arab world is that their rulers have turned their nations into an insensitive set of questions about the Muslim world. An example is the statements made by former Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman who said recently that requests from Arab states to establish relations with Israel are so big in number that Tel Aviv has yet to find enough time to review these demands.