Saudi Ex-General Disavows Normalization

YERUSHALAYIM -

The former Saudi general who has been engaging in talks with Israeli officials denied on Tuesday that he represented his government in a move toward normalization, The Jerusalem Post reported.

The statement came after harsh attacks on the Saudis by Hezbollah and Iran over the past few days, accusing them of betraying the Moslem cause and the Palestinians.

“My visit was not coordinated with the Saudi royal house and I did not receive a green light from Saudi Arabia,” Gen. Anwar Eshki told the Al-Shams radio station, which broadcasts from Nazareth.

“I came on my own behalf… However, there were those who tried to exploit the visit and its timing in order to attack Saudi Arabia. In Israel, too, they exploited the visit to report on closer [relations] and normalization,” he added.

Eshki met with Israel’s Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold and Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the coordinator of government activities in the territories, and Knesset members, while in Israel two weeks ago. However, he stressed that the meetings were in private venues, not government offices.

He also said that the trip, which he made with a delegation from the Middle East institute he heads, was prompted by an invitation from the Palestinian Authority.