While the story of Jamal Khashoggi’s brutal killing is still falling apart, Israel stays silent while stuck in an uncomfortable position between expressing criticism or support for Saudi Arabia.
During the last three weeks, Israelis were expected to weigh in on the controversy over Khashoggi’s murder, however, they did not. The Israeli PM, officials and mainstream pro-Israel groups inside and outside Israel remained silent over Khashoggi’s story while the Israeli public are watching the news cautiously.
Opinions over Israel’s silence varied, but the one fact that all agreed on, is the interests and mutual relations were seen getting stronger between Israel and the Saudi de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
During the last year and a half and since Mohammed bin Salman was appointed in 2017, Saudi-Israeli relations have been witnessing a major change. From the typical Saudi voice that had always expressed opposition to Israel and its policies toward Palestinians, Saudis have became more open to cooperating with Israel. Saudi Arabia has also voiced willing to support the US peace plan that is being prepared for the Middle East.
The public opinion in Israel was also split; between the pro-right who saw Khashoggi as a fierce critic of Israel and supporter for the Palestinian resistance- a “terrorist sympathizer”.
The Saudi writer was also known for opposition to the latest cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Israel, which in his opinion, will tarnish the Kingdom’s reputation in the Arab world.
Some saw Israel’s position came because of fears that if Riyadh’s position got diminished, this will be in favor of Iran or Turkey, which will not be good for Israel.
Other opinions suggested that Israel fears the Saudi figures who might be arrested or investigated for involvement in Khashoggi murder, are the same ones who lead the Saudi-Israeli relations and interests.
Meanwhile, some Israelis disagreed with the Saudi policies and accused it of killing the journalist, despite Khashoggi’s position toward their government, arguing that his murder was brutal and gruesome.
In middle this all, some still wait for an Israeli official position toward Saudi Arabia in Khashoggi’s case. Either follow Germany who already frozen scheduled deliveries of arms to the kingdom, or the US punished the Saudis by moving to revoke the visas of the suspects.
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