Saudi officials arrest activist over criticizing ties with Israel
Saudi authorities have arrested a female activist over denouncing the Riyadh regime’s attempts, particularly those of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, to normalize diplomatic relations with Israel at the expense of the “Palestinian issue.”
According to a report published by a local media, Saudi forces detained Noha al-Balawi on Thursday over a post she published on her Twitter page, criticizing such a move.
Balawi, wearing a niqab in the video, states that Israeli-Saudi relations would only serve the interests of the Tel Aviv regime, and would be to the detriment of Arab nations.
Speaking in an interview with France 24 television news network on December 13, 2017, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said the kingdom has a “roadmap” to establish full diplomatic ties with the Tel Aviv regime.
In mid-November last year, a Lebanese paper published a secret document that showed that the Saudis were willing to normalize relations with Israel as part of a US-led Israeli-Palestinian peace effort and unite Saudi-allied countries against Iran.
The document, published by al-Akhbar daily, was a letter from the Saudi foreign minister to bin Salman, explaining why it was in the kingdom’s interest to normalize relations with Israel. The letter said a rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Israel has risks for the kingdom due to the strength of the Palestinian cause among Muslims.
The Saudis’ willingness to boost ties with Israel has offended several Arab countries, including Jordan.
As for the Palestinian refugee issue, the letter says the Saudis would be willing to help the estimated five million Palestinian refugees worldwide settle in the host countries rather than being brought back to the occupied Palestinian territories.
The Israeli military’s chief-of-staff, Gadi Eizenkot, recently said the regime was ready to share intelligence with Saudi Arabia on Iran.
Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz has indicated that Israel has had secret contacts with Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries over their mutual concerns about Iran, an apparent first acknowledgment by a senior official about covert dealings. He made the comments on November 19, but he did not specify the nature of the contacts.