Reports that a high-ranking delegation from the Palestinian terror group Hamas was in Saudi Arabia on a mission to strengthen ties with Riyadh appear to be true. The delegation was filmed.
In a social media video, Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Mashaal circled Islam’s holiest site in Mecca in white terrycloth, a symbol of the Muslim Hajj pilgrimage. The Muslim world is right now denoting the last seven day stretch of the Ramadan sacred month.
Wafa, the official news agency of the Palestinian Authority, reported earlier that the Al-Quds daily reported that Hamas was in Saudi Arabia during PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s visit there.
Neither Hamas nor Riyadh have confirmed the visit of senior members of the terror organization.
As Israel’s hopes of forging official ties with Riyadh appear to diminish further, a trip by a senior Hamas delegation would be a significant development.
Saudi Arabia has had a cold and tense relationship with Hamas for a long time. The kingdom even arrested a lot of people who had connections to the jihadist group, which runs the Gaza Strip and openly wants to destroy Israel.
Riyadh, on the other hand, appeared to be all set to host a high-level delegation to try to repair Hamas’s relationship with Saudi Arabia, which has been rocky since 2007, when the terror group overthrew the Palestinian Authority and took over Gaza in a bloody coup. This came after Riyadh’s historic rapprochement with Iran last month. The failure of attempts at reconciliation with the PA’s Fatah party had been attributed by Saudi leaders to Hamas.
Saudi authorities arrested dozens of Hamas-linked agents in 2019 for allegedly posing a threat to the kingdom’s authority.
Saudi Arabia has released many of those detainees in recent months, including senior member Mohammad Al-Khodary, who was released in October, following messages from Hamas leaders expressing a desire to strengthen ties with the kingdom.
As a result of ongoing violence in the West Bank and clashes at the critical Temple Mount location, US media reported last week that Saudi Arabia’s interest in establishing diplomatic relations with Israel had diminished in recent months.
When Benjamin Netanyahu took office in December, he made it a top priority to include the kingdom in the 2020 Abraham Accords. However, due to the rising tensions between Israel and Palestine, Riyadh and other Muslim nations have become reluctant to openly advance a deal, Israeli and Gulf officials told The Wall Street Journal.
Remarkably, an arrangement handled by Washington to plan non-stop departures from Tel Aviv to Mecca, permitting Israel’s Muslim residents to all the more effectively participate in the hallowed Hajj journey, is probably not going to be settled, Israeli authorities told the paper.
The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, the kingdom’s neighbors, established full diplomatic ties with Israel through the Abraham Accords, which were mediated by the United States.
In 2022, expects developing binds with Riyadh crested when the realm permitted Israeli regular citizen trips to disregard its airspace.
Since the foundation of Netanyahu’s hardline traditional government, the Saudis have given a few judgments against Israel over West Bank settlement extension and brutal showdowns between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians.
Netanyahu said shortly before being sworn in that a normalization agreement with Saudi Arabia could be a “quantum leap” for long-term peace talks with the Palestinians.
The two nations were additionally keen on adjusting against their normal provincial opponent Iran. But the recent agreement between Riyadh and Tehran to come closer is making things even harder.
Leave a Reply