A series of reports in recent months of developing ties between Israel and Saudi Arabi have led Lebanese terrorist leader Hassan Nasrallah to a public condemnnation, The Jerusalem Post reported on Sunday.
The Hezbollah Secretary-General condemned the Kingdom for its “normalization with Israel,” and doing so “for free,” as he put it, meaning without Israeli concessions to the Palestistians.
“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,” he warned.
Among the signs of a diplomatic thaw was the appearance of Anwar Eshki, a retired general and the chairman of a Saudi think tank, the Middle East Center for Strategic and Legal Studies, in Israel recently. He met with Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold and with several MKs, and sat for interviews with Israeli journalists, all unthinkable a year ago. The numerous reports of clandestine meetings between Israeli and Saudi officials suggest that much more is going on below the surface.
On BBC Arabic on Friday, Abd al-Mujid al-Hakim, a member of a Saudi Arabian delegation that recently visited Israel and the Palestinian Authority, along with Eshki, said he believes Israelis wants peace.
“In Arab societies, the picture of Israeli society is that it embraces a culture of death, wants to spill blood, and does not believe in peace. That [picture] is not correct.” He continued, “The Israeli society that I encountered embraces a culture of peace, has accomplishments it wants to (protect), wants coexistence, and wants peace.”
Hakim, director of the Middle East Center for Strategic and Legal Policy in Jedda, responded to critics of the delegation with a call for an end to Arab cynicism:
“Let’s stop exploiting the Palestinian suffering and issue to achieve political gains in the region…Enough of this exploitation.”