Saudi Arabia will normalise its relations with Israel if the latter accepts the Arab Initiative, the Director of the Middle East Centre for Strategic and Legal Studies, Anwar Eshki, has said.
In an interview with the German channel Deutsche Welle, the former general in the Saudi armed forces, said: “The normalisation of relations with Israel depends on their approval of the Arab Initiative which was launched in 2002 by King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz with the aim of achieving peace in the Middle East and between Israel and Palestine, establishing an internationally recognised Palestinian state in 1967 and guaranteeing the return of refugees and Israel’s withdrawal from the occupied Golan Heights.”
After the peace and normalisation processes, relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel will be established based on common interests and reciprocity.
He added that once the islands of Tiran and Sanafir are handed to Saudi Arabia by Egypt, the Kingdom will recognise the Camp David Accords.
“The aim behind restoring the two islands to Saudi Arabia was not to establish relations between the Kingdom and Israel but to demarcate the borders with Egypt.”
“When the borders were drawn, the two islands became part of the Kingdom’s borders. Thus, the Kingdom will have to deal with the Camp David Accords. The Accords are no longer Egyptian-Israeli only, but have become international. Egypt and Saudi Arabia will jointly control the route that Israeli, Jordanian and other ships pass through.”
Eshki added: “As far as I know, the Kingdom will go towards normalising relations with Israel after the implementation of the Arab Initiative. The Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu also proposed an initiative, which is slightly different from the Arab one and is now being studied in the United States. After that, we will examine it and if our Palestinian brothers agree on it, the Kingdom will not object.”
Eshki pointed out that the difference between the two initiatives is that “Israel would allow a Palestinian state on the condition that it is a confederation and is backed by Jordan and Egypt as its guarantors. In addition, the Israeli proposal would leave Jerusalem as the final issue to be resolved. This is what I know of the initiative.”
He added: “If the Kingdom normalises relations with Israel, all Muslim countries will do the same and break Israel’s isolation from other countries in the region.”
“Israel has not carried out a single act of aggression against the Kingdom.”
Asked whether this Saudi rapprochement with Israel is due to the existence of a joint enemy – the Iranian regime – Eshki declared: “This is not an agreement but a circumstantial situation. The circumstances have imposed this on us. The hostility to Iran has two angles – an Israeli angle and a Saudi angle.”
“Iran wants to exterminate Israel, hence the hostility between them. However, when it comes to Saudi Arabia, Iran only wants to disturb us and undermine our security.”