A former Saudi general has added fresh fuel to Riyadh’s campaign of defending the Israeli regime against the Palestinians, saying Saudi Arabia is not obliged to defend the people of Palestine against the Israeli occupation.
Anwar Eshki, who currently serves as chairman of the Middle East Center for Strategic and Legal Studies in Saudi Arabia, said Thursday that Riyadh has no extra duty to protect the Palestinians against the Israelis, adding Palestinians do not deserve such protection from Riyadh as much as the Saudi citizens do.
“If your house and your neighbor’s are set on fire, it is natural you rush to extinguish the fire engulfing your house,” said Eshki in an interview with BBC Arabic.
However, faced with recurrent questions about Saudi Arabia’s historic responsibility to counter Israeli occupation and aggression against the Palestinians, the former Saudi general clearly patronized Israel and said the regime in Tel Aviv never invaded Saudi Arabia to deserve a response from the kingdom.
“Israel is (merely) suspected of animosity,” said Eshki, who is known for his repeated visits to the occupied Palestinian territories, especially in recent months.
The former military commander used the opportunity to heap the blame on Iran for regional conflicts, saying it was Iran, and not Israel, that the Saudis were supposed to counter.
The comments are the latest from Saudi Arabia as the kingdom apparently seeks closer relations with Israel as a way of countering Iran which it views a regional rival.
Senior Saudi official, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, have openly sought to justify Israel’s way of treating the Palestinians on the issue of peace.
On a trip to New York last month where he met with several Jewish leaders, bin Salman said that Palestinians should either accept peace proposals or “shut up”.
“It’s about time that the Palestinians accept the offers, and agree to come to the negotiating table — or they should shut up and stop complaining,” said bin Salman, adding, “For the past 40 years, the Palestinian leadership has missed opportunities again and again, and rejected all the offers it was given.”