Disclosure of Close Ties with Israel During Hajj Raises Saudi Concerns*
Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Abdulaziz bin Abdullah voiced concern about the disclosure of the close relations between Riyadh and Tel Aviv, especially when Muslims from across the world are in Saudi Arabia for Hajj rituals.
“After a meeting between Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, also a former foreign minister, with Saudi Prince Turki bin Faisal al-Saud in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting late September, and given the decreasing influence of Riyadh in the region and among the Muslims, Abdulaziz bin Abdullah expressed dire concern about the disclosure of the close relations with Tel Aviv, especially when a large number of Muslims have gathered in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina for Hajj rituals,” an informed source told FNA.
According to the report, in a secret meeting between a close advisor to Abdulaziz bin Abdullah and Saudi Interior Minister Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, the two sides discussed the serious challenges facing Saudi Arabia in the near future.
“At the start of the meeting, the representative of Abdulaziz bin Abdullah elaborated on the meetings between certain high-ranking Saudi officials, specially Turki bin Faisal, and Zionist officials, mostly held in Aqaba port, in which Riyadh undertook some commitments,” the source who called for anonymity due to security concerns, said.
The source quoted Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud as saying that the most important subjects raised during the meeting between the Saudi and Israeli officials included
- Strengthening cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Israel in defeating the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
- All-out cooperation to prevent a nuclear deal between Iran and the West in a way that Tehran’s relations with the western states will be experience serious trouble and lead the nuclear talks to a failure
- Finding new ways to accelerate and facilitate economic, political and foreign policy relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia
- Given the existence of differences between Saudi Arabia and Qatar on the political, territorial, economic and regional issues, Israel undertook to support Riyadh’s stances and force Qatar to accept the preconditions of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE for ending the existing conflicts, and
- During the meeting between Turki al-Faisal and Tzipi Livni in New York, Saudi Arabia has presented a dual-track approach to play with Iran which started with Turki al-Faisal’s meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in New York.
“During the meeting between the two Saudi officials in Riyadh, Abdulaziz’s representative told Nayef that the issues raised in the meetings with the Israeli officials were undoubtedly Riyadh’s most important goals but given the presence of Muslims in Saudi Arabia for Hajj rituals the relations between Riyadh and Tel Aviv should never be allowed to come under the spotlight, warning him that otherwise there will start a crisis which may lead to the overthrow of the Saudi dynasty,” the source told FNA.
The informed source revealed that at present, the Saudi princes, especially “Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Saud a-Feisal and Turki al-Feisal have intense differences on may important issues”.