by WorldTribune Staff, August 2, 2016
Hizbullah and Hamas had harsh words for a Saudi delegation that visited Jerusalem last week in a sign of the “normalizing of relations” between Saudi Arabia and Israel.
A group of Saudi academics and businessmen, led by retired Saudi Gen. Anwar Eshki, arrived last week for an unprecedented visit with Israeli government officials in an effort to renew the dialogue surrounding the Arab Peace Initiative. The Saudi-led initiative for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, launched in 2002, would see 57 Arab and Muslim nations normalize ties with Israel upon reaching a final status agreement with the Palestinians.
“For Saudi Arabia to communicate and normalize relations and then recognize and coordinate with Israel, they are issuing fatwas for that,” Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah said. “We are facing a doctrinal and cultural disaster, because this requires religious acceptance and recognition of Israel.”
Hamas demanded that Saudi Arabia “take measures to prevent these normalizing visits that [Israel] uses to undermine the rights of Palestinians and penetrate into the [Muslim] nation in thought and culture.”
While Hamas has expressed its support for Saudi Arabia, the Saudis have criticized Iran’s use of proxies – including Hamas and Hizbullah – to “create chaos” in the region.
Eshki met with Israeli Foreign Ministry Director Dore Gold, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, and several Knesset members from the opposition.
“The visit of the retired Saudi major general [Eshki] to Israel is not the beginning of relations and coordination, this exists already. But it’s a move from secret to open relations,” Nasrallah said. “Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal’s communication and relation with Israel does not contradict Saudi policy, it’s the beginning of moving forward in opening up relations with the enemy.”
Israel and Saudi Arabia have no diplomatic ties and their citizens are denied entrance to their respective countries.
Nasrallah accused Saudi Arabia of perpetrating atrocities in Yemen and across the region. “Saudi Arabia insists on continuing wars in all corners of the region, and it rejects dialogue in Bahrain, Yemen and Syria. They only make initiatives towards the Israelis without paying any price for their actions. They commit murder against the Yemeni people and ISIL commits atrocities under Saudi cover in Sarari village in Yemen, because this is Saudi culture and Wahabism.”