Is Saudi Arabia Considering a Peace Treaty With Israel?

Published July 8th, 2018 - 12:03 GMT
Saudi Arabia became more open about having peace with Israel since Mohammed bin Salman was appointed in 2017. (Left: the Kremlin, Right: Wikimedia Commons)
Saudi Arabia became more open about having peace with Israel since Mohammed bin Salman was appointed in 2017. (Left: the Kremlin, Right: Wikimedia Commons)

By Randa Darwish

Saudi voices calling for peace and normalized relations with Israel have become a noticeable trend. It all came to light during the time of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) when flights between Israel and India were allowed to pass through the Saudi airspace for first time in 70 years, and it was followed by his remarks on Israel’s right to have peace in “their homeland,” Palestine.

The latest of which was a Saudi pro-government writer, called Dahham Al-Anazi. He wrote an article titled: “Yes to an Israeli Embassy in Riyadh and normalized relations as part of the Saudi Initiative.” Meanwhile, after three days went on publishing the article in the electronic newspaper “AL-Khaleeg” on Thursday, yet it is still receiving reactions among Saudis, Israelis and Palestinians as well.

Anazi initiated his article based on an invitation made by a Knesset member, Yossi Yuna, for Bin Salman to give a speech in the Knesset, as the “peacebuilder” in the region.

Besides attacking radical Islamist movements such as Hamas and Hezbollah and describing them as “terrorists,” the writer claimed they are exploiting the Palestine Cause to manipulate Arabs and Muslims minds.

Anazi also urged that Saudi Arabia has a common enemy with Israel, pointing out to the danger of Iran and Turkey, the descendants of the Ottoman and Byzantine empires, who aim to gain to control the Middle East, as claimed by Anazi.

Translation: “So, the resistance became terrorism in the point of view of Saudi Dahham El Jafran Anazi!!! What moral breakdown are we living in today!!”

It did not stop there, the writer took it further by expressing how Jews are closer to Muslims than Persians and Turks, overlooking the fact that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not a matter of religions between Jews and Muslims rather than an occupied land.

“As Muslims we do not have any problems with Jews, as well as other nations, I have met many Israeli Jews during years I spent in Washington and we used to call each other as cousins, they are our uncles sons and they are closer to us than the Persians and the Turks.”

The writer suggested the opening of a Saudi Embassy in West Jerusalem and an Israeli Embassy in Riyadh as well.

Waves of angry reactions were sparked on social media by the article confirming the fact that any proposal of an Arab-Israeli peace deal is elusive.

The Saudi writer, Turki Shalhoub, re-tweeted the article saying with the caption: “We are on an unstoppable moral breakdown.”

Translation: “Dahham Anazi did not dare to write any word without getting the MBS approval, who imprisoned his cousins and relatives from Al Saud. So, how such a citizen who is considered a general citizen dare to write about the MBS and his visit to Israel without getting a previous approval? This is impossible. So it is all MBS orders to examine Saudis and their reaction [on the topic].”

On the other hand, a very few Saudis echoed Anazi’s voice discussing the possibility of peace with Israel.

Translation: “Yes to peace with our Jewish cousins in Israel.”

Some users reversed the blame on the opponents, wondering about strong reactions Saudi Arabia receives when it discuss peace with Israel, while no one mentioned Qatar.

Translation: “They claim Saudi Arabia has an Israeli embassy, receives Israeli flights and have trade relations with Israel and they shut up when it comes to Qatar or Turkey relations with Israel. Their arguments are false their discussion is rewarded and their aims are exposed.”

The article was also shared by the official Arabic account of Israel, quoting the writer while saying: “Peace will expose the lies of those who claim nationalism, the extremist and Islamist groups who practice terrorism covered under the lie of defending the Palestinian issue”, and their caption is: “Israel’s hands for peace are outstretched with all neighbouring countries.”

The writer is believed by many Saudis to be paid by the government, during a a time while Israel and the establishment of a Jewish State is still considered the real and essential danger in the region.

This story comes at a time while many Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain are coming out to reveal their intentions to grow an alignment with Israel against their mutual enemy, Iran. The latest was represented by an Emirati military delegation that visited Israel for an official visit during this week.

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