The head of the Hamas political bureau, Khaled Meshaal, has said that the movement and Saudi Arabia have entered a new phase in their relations. He stressed that the kingdom is one of the most important countries in the region.
Meshaal made his comments as Hamas officials revealed that he will travel to Saudi Arabia in mid-September to meet with the Saudi ruler, King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz for the second time in a couple of months. The thaw in relations started when Meshaal visited Saudi Arabia in July to meet local officials as well as the monarch, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef and deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
"There is a new Saudi trend to recognise Hamas after a period of exclusion," explained Palestinian political analyst Adnan Abu Amer. "That was the policy practiced by the late King Abdullah."
Abu Amer told Gulf Online that Hamas and Saudi Arabia are willing and serious about establishing a new relationship, "especially in the midst of what appears to be a dispute between Iran and the Palestinian resistance movement." Tehran's recent crackdown on Meshaal, he claimed, has led to improving relations between Saudi Arabia and Hamas, despite Iran's desire to create rivalry between the two.
"It is clear that there is a desire to keep the agenda of Meshaal's first and second visits to Saudi Arabia hidden," he added, although he expects Riyadh to play a bigger role in the Palestinian scene. "This would include mediation, along with Egypt, in the internal Palestinian reconciliation, as well as the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip."