Turki al-Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, at the “Manama Dialogue Security Conference” in the capital of Bahrain, sharply criticized the brutal policies of the Israelis against the powerless Palestinians. He harshly and truthfully described Israel as a “Western colonialist power” that “imprisons (Palestinians) in concentration camps on the most far-fetched security charges, young and old, women and men, who rot there, unable to call for justice. They raze their houses as they want, and they kill Palestinians as they want.” The famous Saudi prince, who led Saudi intelligence for more than two decades and was ambassador to the United States and Britain, said that in order to help the Palestinians obtain their own independent state, negotiations on normalization of relationships were necessary.
Although the prince does not hold any official position, his standing is very similar to that of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. At the same time, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who now directs all foreign affairs, is more inclined to establish normal relations with Israel at the expense of legitimate Palestinian rights. It was with his participation that Bahrain, the Arab Emirates and Sudan settled their relations with the Israelis, although Riyadh now leads the Arab world and is responsible, according to all Arab resolutions, for protecting Palestinian rights. Officially, Saudi Arabia insists that any normalization of relations between it and Israel can only take place if there is a lasting peace agreement in place that provides for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The kingdom publicly continues its unwavering support for the Arab Peace Initiative, a 2002 deal sponsored by Saudi Arabia that offers Israel full ties with all Arab states in exchange for Palestinian statehood in territory seized by Israel in 1967.
Interestingly, according to the new trends at the summit, Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi was present remotely and was also given the stage to speak. But the Israeli was so stunned by the “treacherous” performance of the Saudis that the only thing he managed to mumble out was the following: “I do not believe that these words reflect the spirit and the changes that are taking place in the Middle East.”
Well, okay, let’s analyze what exactly the Israeli minister meant by “new trends”. This just in, a heavily armed Israeli Goliath killed an unarmed Palestinian teenager in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. 14 year old Ali Abu Alia was shot in the stomach during a protest in the village of Al Mugayyir near Ramallah. The Palestinian authorities described it as a “war crime,” and the European Union delegation to Palestine called for an investigation into the incident. “How many more Palestinian children will be subjected to the excessive use of lethal force by Israeli security forces?” the Palestinian authorities expressed in a statement on the matter. Quite naturally, the Palestinians called on the “democrats” in Tel Aviv for this “shocking incident to be promptly and fully investigated by the Israeli authorities in order to bring those responsible to justice.”
But who would believe that this murder would even be investigated and that the culprits would go to jail? Such crimes by Israelis against unarmed Palestinians have been committed repeatedly, yet no army official has been punished, claiming that IDF personnel are just “guarding the peace” of their citizens from Palestinian “terrorists”. Moreover, soldiers and officers were repeatedly awarded orders and medals for such crimes, because the Palestinians in their own homeland of Palestine are regarded as second-class people, “terrorists”.
Taking advantage of zero accountability in Palestine and the unconditional support of the “democratic” US in the foreign arena, Israel brazenly and repeatedly bombs Syrian territory, killing civilians, including scientists, to no account. Until now, not only the region of the Middle East, but also many countries of the world are “shaken” by the unpunished and brazen murder of the Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in Iran. As is known, Tehran has blamed the Israeli Mossad and the US CIA, which supports it, for this international crime. IRGC spokesman Remezan Sharif said on this occasion that the Israeli regime has killed 2,700 elites in the region over the past 70 years. “The Zionists themselves are proud of these murders and have published the names of these murders in several books,” the Iranian added.
Many journalists and political activists are already openly stating that the US and Israel are murdering officials of Iran and other countries, publicly recognizing this as their legitimate actions, and are persistently calling on the international community to sanction and punish Tel Aviv and Washington for such heinous crimes.
In the present circumstances, Israel is counting on the US government to protect it from any consequences at the United Nations, the World Court or even the International Criminal Court. After all, the US itself publicly and brazenly killed General Suleimani in Iraq not so long ago, so it would be hard to condemn Israel for the same thing today. The Israeli government successfully censors criticism of itself through other governments and effectively removes top officials who criticize its horrors. Look at Jeremy Corbyn’s recent expulsion from the Labor Party in Britain on false grounds of anti-Semitism. On this occasion, David Swenson — a well-known writer, activist, journalist and radio host — said that he believes the world should respond with a campaign of condemnation to the governments of Israel and the United States. In an interview with the Tehran Times, he said that world governments should demand investigation and ICC prosecution for crimes, including direct killing and lethal sanctions.
As for the Palestinians, Israel must avoid unilateral actions in the occupied territories of the West Bank, including the illegal practice of destroying Palestinian homes there, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in a video message to the participants of the international conference “Mediterranean Dialogues” in Moscow. In his view, the situation in this complex region “will never fully stabilize as long as the old wound of the Arab-Israeli conflict remains open”.
Even those Arab countries that have recently been forced to settle their relations with Israel are beginning to reconsider their relations with Tel Aviv. Bahrain, for example, has announced its decision to reject goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Although it is unknown how the Bahrainis will distinguish these goods from those produced directly in Israel, but obstacles to mutual trade have already been erected. And the UAE denied visas to more than 200 Israelis who had made up their minds to rest in the mild winter climate of the Persian Gulf. Sudan, which was the last country to settle its relations with Israel, is also already wary of Tel Aviv.
It is only natural that the Arab people of Palestine are not going to accept their situation as prisoners in their own homeland. At this time the Palestinians are actively celebrating the 33rd anniversary of the beginning of the First Intifada. The Lebanese channel Al-Manar presents its viewers with a Hamas statement, according to which, the Stone Intifada has become a heroic epic of the Palestinian people. For its part, Hamas called on the Palestinians to continue resisting the occupation and to fight for the realization of national aspirations, for the establishment of their national state, despite the sacrifices and losses.
Viktor Mikhin, corresponding member of RANS, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook“.