Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s former National Security Adviser Yaacov Nagel told the Telegraph that Saudi Arabia is so committed to countering Iran that it will accept any peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. Nagel added that Riyadh does not “give a damn” about whether the deal is good for the Palestinians.
Saudi King Salman Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News
In an interview with the Telegraph, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s former National Security Adviser Yaacov Nagel said that Saudi Arabia is so interested in countering Iran that it is willing to abandon the Palestinians in exchange for diplomatic relations with Jerusalem. Nagel explained that Riyadh wants to begin cooperating with Israel so desperately that it “doesn’t care” what kind of deal is reached between Israel and the Palestinians.
“They just have to say there is an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, they don’t care, they don’t give a damn about what will be in the agreement,” Nagel said. “They need to say there is an agreement in order to go for next steps.”
In November, the tensions between Riyadh and Tehran escalated after Houthi rebels fired a missile toward Riyadh from Yemen. The Saudi Press Agency reported that Riyadh conducted a comprehensive test on the missile and has proof that it was the work of the Iranians. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, however, claimed that it was in no way involved in the attack.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Saudi King Salman Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News
About two weeks later, the Arab League issued a statement denouncing Iran during an emergency summit in Cairo. According to the statement, Iran is destabilizing the entire Middle East and has been assisting Shia rebels in the civil war in Yemen for over two years.
The summit was organized by Saudi Arabia, which clarified it wished to act in a “serious and honest” manner against “Iranian aggression.” Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir emphasized that no weakness should be demonstrated when dealing with Iran’s ballistic missile capabilities.
The possibility of Saudi Arabia and Israel establishing diplomatic relations has made headlines in recent weeks, especially after IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot was interviewed by the Saudi newspaper Elaph. A few days after the rare interview, Israeli Minister Yuval Steinitz confirmed that Israel and Saudi Arabia are in contact. “The connection with the moderate Arab world, including Saudi Arabia, helps us stop Iran,” he said during an interview with Army Radio.
“Even when we struggled to improve the nuclear agreement, with very partial success, there was some assistance from the moderate Arab states toward the US and Western powers,” Steinitz clarified. “Even today, when we are pressuring the superpowers not to agree to the establishment of an Iranian military base in Syria along our northern border, the Sunni Arab world is helping us with this matter.”