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Former Saudi General Visits Israel, Calls Palestinians ‘Terrorists’

While the Saudis and Israelis appear to be enemies, the two in fact agree on many regional issues and are the two biggest U.S. allies in the Middle East.

A former senior Saudi military general traveled to Israel and met with government officials this week in Saudi Arabia’s latest move to forge relations and ties with Israel despite appearing to be one of its main public critics and branding itself as the defender of Palestine and its people.

Retired General Anwar Eshki, who has held several senior positions in the Saudi government and its military, travelled to Israel with a delegation of academics and business people and met Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold and Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Major-General Yoav Mordechai, according to a report by Haaretz.

In an interview with Israel’s Army Radio Sunday, Eshki called Palestinian efforts against the occupation “terror” and said that Israel’s actions were behind it.

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“To my knowledge, there is no cooperation between Israel and Saudi Arabia in counter-terrorism efforts, and though they share the same approach in seeking a solution, we want Israel to put an end to what has caused this terrorism.”

He further called Palestinian resistance groups who have broad support within Palestinian society – such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad – “terrorist” groups that are being “exploited” by Iran, according to the Times of Israel.

While the visit was not an official one, given that Eshki isn’t a Saudi official, he could not have carried out such meetings without the blessing and the permission of the Saudi monarchy.

“The Saudis want to open up to Israel,” Israeli lawmaker Esawi Freige, who met with Eshki Friday, said according to Middle East Eye.

“This is a strategic step for them. They said they want to continue what former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat started. They want to get closer to Israel. This is clearly evident.”

While the Saudis and Israelis appear to many to be enemies due to the decades-long Israeli occupation of Palestine, the two in fact agree on many regional issues.

Saudi Arabia and Israel are the two biggest and most important U.S. allies in the region. The two also see Iran as the main threat to their interests in the region and both came out and lobbied for months against the U.S.-led nuclear deal with Tehran.

Also, Saudi Arabia sees the Muslims Brotherhood – which is connected to Hamas – as a terrorist organization, which is in line with how Israel views both Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Reports also suggest that the two countries are keen on expanding their military ties, which remains largely behind closed doors despite being an open secret in the region. In March it was suggested that the kingdom had purchased drones from Israel via South Africa.Schermata 2016 07 26 alle 08.06.16

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police




The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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