Saudi Official Says Hamas Responsible for Deaths in Gaza; Columnist Calls for Peace With Israel
by Deborah Danan
The former head of Saudi intelligence services Turki al Faisal said that Hamas was responsible for “the crimes Israel has committed in the Gaza Strip,” according to a report by Israeli news website NRG.
In an interview quoted Sunday from Asharq Al-Awsat, a pan-Arab newspaper based in London, Faisal said that “Hamas is responsible for the slaughter in the Gaza Strip following its bad decisions in the past, and the haughtiness it shows by firing useless rockets at Israel, which contribute nothing to the Palestinian interest. The Hamas rockets pose no threat to the Israeli occupation, even when they reach Tel Aviv.”
Faisal further blamed Qatar and Turkey for their mediation efforts, saying that instead of preventing Israel from destroying Gaza, these two countries were destroying Egypt’s leadership role in the Arab world. He also attacked the US and Europe for giving Israel the diplomatic credit to continue its campaign.
Earlier over the weekend, an influential Saudi wrote an op ed published by Al Arabiya headlined “Peace with Israel is the solution.”
The author, Mohammed al Sheikh, comes from a family which traces its roots back to the Wahabbi founders of the kingdom. Members of the family were imams, muftis and ministers in the Saudi government.
In his article, cited by Israeli news site Ynet, Sheikh said only peace will gain the Palestinians a state, since at war Israel has total advantage.
Sheikh further mocks Iran’s threats since 1979 to erase “the little devil” and “the Shi’ite of Lebanon” Hassan Nasrallah, who sent his Hezbollah troops to fight the Syrian people instead of Israel. The Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas “sacrificed the Palestinians in false hopes of liberation.”
Several weeks ago, a Saudi intellectual, Abdallah Hamid a Din, wrote in Al Hayat that Israel cannot be forcefully defeated. In his words, the Palestinians have been missing opportunities since 1947, and all the while Israel grows stronger while the Palestinians weaken and their territory shrinks. Hamid said many of the Palestinians’ demands were unrealistic, like the right of return for refugees, which he compared to an Indian demand to return native Americans to cities in the US.
According to Dr. Yaron Friedman, the author of the Ynet article, Saudi Arabia feels threatened by the rise of Iran and the Shi’ite axis, and the calls from within it for peace with Israel come on the heels of Israel’s other peace agreements with Jordan and Egypt and its normalization with Morocco and Mauritania, all moderate Sunni states.