The head of Saudi Arabia's General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, has denounced Israeli settler raids at Al-Aqsa Mosque, Safa news agency reported on Tuesday. However, he has been criticised for ignoring the latest military offensive against Gaza in his statement.
"Al-Aqsa Mosque will remain great and cherished until the Day of Judgement," said Al-Sudais. "The violations carried out by the Israeli settlers are not accepted by any religion or convention."
Nevertheless, he reassured the settlers by pointing out that, "Islam rejects and forbids all forms of violations, and rejects any aggression against non-Muslims."
The senior religious official not only ignored the Israeli offensive on Gaza that killed 44 Palestinians and wounded 360 others, but also the Israeli raid in Nablus in which three Palestinians were shot dead by security forces, and Israel's murder of a Palestinian boy in Hebron. This omission has triggered widespread anger at Al-Sudais.
The relationship between Saudi Arabia and Israel has thawed in recent times. Riyadh regards the occupation state as a potential ally against Iran rather than an enemy which occupies Arab and Muslim land. Moreover, the kingdom has imposed tight restrictions on Palestinians living there, and has imprisoned those connected in any way to resistance groups.