An Israeli soldier scuffles with a Palestinian man after Palestinian youths threw stones at Israeli forces following Friday prayers in the centre of Hebron, in the Israeli occupied West Bank, on January 12, 2018. / AFP / HAZEM BADER Image Credit: AFP

The Israelis have been busily circulating misinformation about close clandestine alliances with certain Arab nations. In recent times, western media has picked up the Zionist spin and has included some Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries as their partners for a new Middle East vision.

Unfortunately for the Israelis, nothing could be further from the truth. The Arab world is not going to accept Israel as a regional partner as long as its current policies continue. This was emphasised by King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia in a recent conversation with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas when he assured him of the kingdom’s unwavering commitment to the Palestinian cause during a telephone conversation last week.

King Salman reiterated the kingdom’s steadfast position on the Palestinian cause and the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to establish their independent state with occupied Jerusalem as its capital. As custodian of the two holy mosques, Saudi Arabia carries a lot of political weight in the Muslim world and this form of commitment is necessary to ward off nefarious Zionist designs for the region. His strong sentiments were welcomed by the Palestinian president who expressed his gratitude to the King for Saudi Arabia’s historic support for Palestine and its people and for their just cause.

Following that call, the Saudi Council of Ministers chaired by King Salman welcomed the statement issued by Arab foreign ministers after their meeting in Jordan. The Cabinet said the statement restated the centrality of occupied Jerusalem as a key issue for Arabs and key to peace in the region.

The meeting in Jordan was held to discuss the repercussions of the United States’ decision to recognise occupied Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The Saudi Foreign Minister, Adel Al Jubeir, emphatically stated that the Saudi stance regarding occupied Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine remained fixed and has not changed.

There was a total rejection at the meeting of recognising occupied Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the consensus was that the Arab League would work on gaining the world’s recognition for the state of Palestine with occupied Jerusalem as its capital.

To convey their displeasure with current Israeli policies in Palestine, the Saudis snubbed requests by Israeli players to participate in a chess championship that was held in Riyadh. The Israeli players were denied visas. The move was lauded by the Saudi public as an affirmation of the kingdom’s commitment to safeguard Palestinian interests in the face of constant Israeli threats.

Israel has been playing the role of a rogue state for decades in the region. And its presence has not been a very reassuring one. At least not to the Palestinian hosts on whose land this menacing rogue state and its people wander, spreading venom. This rogue nation is pursuing its policy of grabbing and annexing what little land the Palestinians can hang on to through aggression, targeted killings, executions, burning of civilians and their dwellings, explained away as “in the interest of national security”.

While Israeli expectations were on a high assuming that those in Saudi Arabia were on their side, they were in for disappointment. Israel is a country that has flatly rejected the Arab Peace Plan proposed by the late King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia back in 2002, which would have allowed full diplomatic recognition by all Arab countries. Instead, Israel chose to remain on its course of terrorising and eliminating its Palestinian subjects.

Their illegal occupation of Palestinian lands, the state-sponsored murder by Israeli forces and illegal colonists of unarmed and helpless Palestinian civilians and other atrocities have not escaped the attention of the Saudis over the years. It is also a well-known fact that quite a few Israeli athletes have been members of the Israeli army — a band of thugs that shoots to kill, their recent targets being primarily women and children. Members of this force have fired tear gas shells and stun grenades at prayer congregations. They have clamped down on the Palestinians’ freedom of access. These thugs have prevented Muslim worshippers from attending to their religious duties. They have usurped their rights as well as their lands. They have embarked on a policy of murder and humiliation. Any response to such atrocities have been quickly put down by superior Israeli firepower, which were later explained to a pliant media as “quelling of rebellion by terrorists”.

The Israelis who show no intention of deviating from their macabre role in the region are not welcome in the Arab League of nations as long as they pursue their current goal of eliminating the trace of Palestinians from their native lands. Their spin media goes into an overdrive with cries of ‘foul’ at their non-inclusion in sporting events. But for a country that has continuously flouted all international laws with their activities in Occupied Territories, the Israelis should be ashamed for even raising the matter of their non-inclusion in certain events.

This ongoing policy of wicked aggression by a nuclear-powered rogue, that has been granted the freedom to remain unchecked, is not something that attracts honest partners.

Tariq A. Al Maeena is a Saudi socio-political commentator. He lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Twitter: @talmaeena.