After the UAE and Bahrain deals, is Saudi Arabia softening its stance on Israel?

After the UAE and Bahrain deals, is Saudi Arabia softening its stance on Israel?
Riyadh / Dubai: When a prominent Saudi cleric in Saudi Arabia called on Muslims this month to avoid “sentimentality and firefighting zeal” towards Jews, it was a clear change for anyone who has preached about Palestine in the past. There were tears.
The teachings of Imam Abdul Rehman Al Sudai The Great Mosque in MeccaBroadcast on Saudi state television on September 5, three weeks after the United Arab Emirates agreed to a landmark agreement to normalize relations with Israel, and some from Saudi Arabia’s closest ally, the Gulf state of Bahrain. The day before, it was observed.
Sudais, who in previous sermons prayed to the Palestinians for victory over the “invading and invading” Jews, spoke of how the Prophet Muhammad was good to his Jewish neighbor and how to persuade Jews to convert to Islam. The best way was to “treat them as well.”
While Saudi Arabia is not expected to follow in the footsteps of its Gulf counterparts anytime soon, Sudais’s remarks may be an indication of how the state would approach Israel on the sensitive issue of warming. Is – a once-in-a-lifetime possibility. Appointed by the king, he is one of the most influential figures in the country, reflecting his orthodox religious establishment and the views of the royal court.
Dramatic agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain were a turning point for Israel and US President Donald Trump, who are projecting themselves as peacemakers ahead of the November elections.
But the biggest diplomatic reward for an Israeli deal would be Saudi Arabia, whose king is the guardian of Islam’s holy sites and rules the world’s largest oil exporter.
Mark Owen Jones, an academic at the University of Exeter’s Institute for Arab and Islamic Studies, said the normalization of the UAE and Bahrain had allowed Saudi Arabia to test public opinion, but a formal deal with Israel for them. The great work “will be the kingdom.
Jones added: “Giving the Saudis” nudge “through an influential imam is a step in an attempt to test the public response and promote the idea of ​​generalization.
In Washington, a State Department official said the warming of relations between Israel and the Gulf Arab states encouraged the United States, which saw the trend as a positive development and “we are working to build it.”
Reuters’ request for comment from Sa Re’s government media office did not immediately respond.
Sudis’s appeal to stay away from intense emotions is a loud cry from his past when he was at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque – Islam’s third holiest site.
The September 5 sermon drew a mixed response, with some Saudis defending it for propagating the teachings of Islam. Others on Twitter, mostly criticizing Sa Sa’s foreign and outspoken government, called it a “doctrine of moderation”.
Ali al-Suleiman, one of many Saudis interviewed by Reuters TV in a mall in Riyadh, said in response to the Bahrain deal that it was customary to normalize with other Gulf states or the Middle East, such as “Israel occupying one.” Is a nation and has driven Palestinians out of their homes.
Mutual fear of Iran
Prince of Saudi Arabia Muhammad bin SalmanThe state’s de facto ruler, often referred to as MBS, has promised to promote interfaith dialogue as part of his domestic reforms. The young prince had earlier said that Israelis were entitled to live in peace on their land under the terms of a peace agreement that would guarantee stability on all sides.
Saudi Arabia’s fear of the Arabs and Israel’s mutual fear of Iran could be a key driver in developing relations.
There are further indications that Saudi Arabia, the most influential country in the Middle East, is finally preparing its people to warm up with Israel.
A period drama, “Um Haroon”, aired on MBC television, controlled by Saudi, during Ramadan in April, was a time when viewers usually marched around the trial of a Jewish midwife. Was focused.
The fantasy series was about a multi-religious community in an undefined Gulf Arab state from the 1930s to the 1950s. The show criticized the Palestinian Hamas group, saying it portrayed Jews in a sympathetic light.
At the time, MBC said the show was Saudi Arabia’s top-ranked Gulf drama in Arabia during Ramadan. The show’s authors, both Bahrainis, told Reuters it had no political message.
But experts and diplomats say this is another sign of a change in public discourse on Israel.
Earlier this year, Mohammed al-Isa, former Saudi minister and general secretary Muslim World League, ch visited Schwitz. In June, he attended the convention through American Jewish Committee, Where he called for a world without “Islamophobia and anti-music”.
“Certainly, MBS intends to handle the state-sanctioned messages shared by the clerical establishment, and part of that will probably serve to justify future agreements with Israel that were not previously thought of.” Said Neil Cullium, a colleague. Chatham House.
Different Palestinians
The normalization between the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Israel, which will be signed in the White House on Tuesday, has further isolated the Palestinians.
Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, did not directly address Israel’s deals with the UAE and Bahrain, but said it was committed to peace on the basis of a long-running Arab peace initiative.
It is unclear how, or if, the state intends to facilitate the deal on those terms.
The initiative offers state deals with the Palestinians and normal relations in exchange for a full Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories in the 1967 Middle East war.
However, in another state of goodwill, the state has allowed Israeli-UAE flights to use its airspace. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, Which has close ties to MBS, praised the move last week.
A Gulf diplomat said the issue was more closely linked to Saudi Arabia’s Arab state, which he described as his religious status as a leader in the Muslim world, and that it would take time to reach a formal agreement with Israel. That Raja is Salman. Still in power.
“Any generalization by Saudi Arabia would open the door for Iran, Qatar and Turkey to demand the internationalization of the two holy mosques,” he said, referring to periodic calls from critics in Riyadh that Mecca and Medina Should be kept under international supervision.

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