The interests of Israel and major Arab powers like Saudi Arabia and Egypt have never coincided more than they now do, wrote Dr. Yaron Friedman, an Israeli expert on Islam and the Arab world.
Reporting for Israel’s Yediot Ahronot, Friedman noted that despite the images coming out of Gaza, Saudi Arabian news network Al-Arabiya recently ran a feature titled “Peace With Israel is the Solution!”
Friedman further pointed out that the author of the piece was far from being just some random contributor. Rather, he is a member of an influential Saudi family that includes respected religious leaders and government officials.
So, why publish such a provocative piece now, the Israeli expert wondered? Friedman reckons it has a lot to do with the process that began with the Israel-Egypt peace agreement in 1979, which was meant to eventually forge a strong bond between the Jewish state and the more moderate powers in the Sunni Muslim world.
Given the successes of the radical Sunni Islamic State (formerly ISIS), the lingering threat of the Muslim Brotherhood (which birthed Hamas), and the rising Shiite power in Iran, Riyadh is seen as more keen than ever to complete that process so it can formerly align with Israel, and thereby gain the advantage of its military and economic might.
According to Friedman, Saudi Arabia wants to conclude the “minor conflict” between Israel and the Palestinians so that like-minded nations in the region can focus on the “major conflict” with radical Sunni forces and a defiant nuclear Iran.
The only problem is that the Saudis want to solve that “minor conflict” by asking Israel to take severe security risks by surrendering strategic positions to a Palestinian populace that has sadly proved its unwillingness to eradicate the violent anti-Israel elements within.