The Israel-Sunni alliance

Although discreet ties have developed, they are unlikely to be formalized without progress on the Palestinian track.

November 21, 2017 15:08
Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a former head of Saudi intelligence

Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a former head of Saudi intelligence. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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AN INTERESTING notion has been introduced to Israel’s public discourse over recent years. It states that Israel has managed to develop unprecedented relations with the Arab Sunni states. And when Israelis talk about “the Sunni world,” they are mostly referring to Saudi Arabia. The main broadcaster of this message is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who wishes to create the impression that Israel's international status has never been better. It is clear, of course, that Netanyahu and his advisers are on a self-promoting campaign to glorify his government's achievements.

Behind this open message there is a deeper, hidden agenda. It wants to inform the Israeli public that despite the conflict with the Palestinians, the occupation and the expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, Israel benefits from excellent ties with the world, in general, and the Arab world, in particular. Thus, Israel doesn’t need to negotiate with the Palestinian Authority or pursue a peace treaty with it. Netanyahu and most of his right-wing cabinet ministers believe that they can maintain the status quo from now to eternity – and even erode it by building more settlements and annexing chunks of the West Bank.


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