Some Saudi princes, the sheikhs of Abu Dhabi and the rulers of Bahrain are racing towards Israel, considering it the gate through which to obtain legitimacy for their authority over their people. They also believe that Israel brings them closer to the White House in Washington, which they believe could help them subjugate their people into obedience and servitude to them. They also count on Washington to help them and their supporters to achieve geographic expansion projects at the expense of the sovereignty of others. They each made extreme efforts to get closer to Israel and to make concessions in favour of Israel and American exploitation.
On the Saudi side, when King Abdulaziz Al Saud – may God have mercy on his soul – established the third Saudi state with British aid and that of others, he was extremely cautious not to concede Palestine or agree to the migration of Western Jews there. King Abdulaziz told US President Roosevelt during their meeting at the Great Bitter Lake about his meeting with Churchill, the British prime minister at the time. He said: "Churchill began by saying England had supported me in hard times and this requires me to help them with regards to the Palestine issue. He said that England believes I must prove my ability as a strong Arab leader and prevent the Arab factions from rebelling against the Zionist plans in Israel. Churchill told me that I must lead the Arab moderates to a compromise with the Zionists, and that Churchill expects me to help prepare the Arab public opinion to accept concessions to the Jews." (Tuwaijri, Li Surat al Lail Hatafa al Sabah, p591).
The King said he replied to Churchill by saying: "I do not deny my friendship with Britain and I have offered them everything I can during the war against their enemy. However, what you are proposing is not to help England or its allies; I see it as an act of betrayal against the Prophet and to all the Muslims of the world. If I did what you are asking of me, I would lose my honour and destroy my soul. I myself am not convinced of making concessions to the Zionists, nor can I convince others." (Tuwaijri, Li Surat al Lail Hatafa al Sabah, p591).
King Abdulaziz told the officers from the American mission that visited Saudi Arabia at the time and met with him to discuss the threats that face the Arabs, the most important of which to him was the Jewish pressure on Palestine, "America and Britain are free to choose between a calm and peaceful Arab world and a Jewish state soaked in blood." (Tuwaijri, Li Surat al Lail Hatafa al Sabah, p589). In his letter to Roosevelt, he said: "The danger of Zionism in Palestine is not a threat to Palestine alone, but a danger threatening all the Arab countries." I do not want to elaborate further in this regard. I will talk about the position of the Saudi kings (Saud, Faisal, Khalid, Fahd and Abdullah) on the Palestinian cause and their support for it. King Faisal was a victim of his commitment to Arab nature of Jerusalem and Palestine in general.
King Salman Al Saud, who has a long history of supporting the Palestinian cause before he became king, called the Arab summit held last month in Dhahran the Jerusalem Summit. He also announced he would be donating $150 million to the Palestinians. However, what we have seen and the statements we've heard made by some of the Saudi officials and elites contradict what was established by the founding leader King Abdulaziz regarding the Palestinian issue. Everyone knows that Israel rejected all of the peace initiatives proposed by Saudi Arabia. The first initiative was that proposed by King Fahd during the Fez summit in 1982 and the second initiative was proposed by King Abdullah Al Saud during the Beirut summit in 2002. Israel did not respond to either initiative and instead intensified its use of force against the Palestinian people and expanded in the West Bank. It was recently granted more room for expansion by the current American administration, the Trump administration, which decided to move the American embassy to Jerusalem and to recognise Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel.
During the rule of King Salman Al-Saud, we noticed the unjustified dash towards Israel. Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, says that the Palestinian issue is no longer Saudi Arabia' priority. This is disappointing for the Arabs and Muslims in general, especially coming from the Saudi leadership. The media reported that his royal highness recognised Israel's right to establish their state on their historical land. He also said that there are common interests between Israel and Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, he stated that the Palestinians should either accept what is being offered to them (the deal of the century) or "shut up". In addition to this, there have been secret and public visits of Saudi senior officials to Israel, such as Major General Anwar Eshki, and the meetings between some religious figures and extremist Zionist leaders. One of our sheikhs who participated in such a gathering, condemned meetings in Sheikh Sudais, imam of the Haram Al-Makk,i and other sheikhs of the state.
The question that arises here is whether the Saudi monarchy needs to court and move towards Israel, although, referring to Israel, the founder of the third Saudi state, the late King Abdulaziz said: "The danger of Zionism in Palestine is not a threat to Palestine alone, but a danger that threatens all of the Arab states." The truth is that this danger is still alive and its first victim will by the third Saudi state. The truth of the matter is that the Saudi state does not need to please any other force in the world other than the Saudi people.
The only guarantee of a government remaining in power in any Arab state is the people, and no one else. The people need fundamental freedoms, an independent and fair judiciary, participation in political decision-making, economic reforms, fair distribution of national wealth, separation between the state and trade, and refraining from monopolising national wealth.
I will end by saying lift the siege on Qatar and learn from what happened with the Koreas in order to spare us from the oppression of the rising right-wing in Europe and America and spare us from draining our financial wealth and our natural resources.
This article first appeared in Arabic in Al-Sharq on 4 May 2018
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.