Despite What It Says, Saudi Arabia Doesn’t Want a Palestinian State

While Riyadh has for a long time loudly championed the Palestinian cause, Saudi interests would not be served by the implementation of a two-state solution, writes Yoram Ettinger:

The House of Saud does not forget, or forgive, the Palestinian track record of intra-Arab terrorism and treachery, most notably the 1990 Palestinian collaboration with Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, which was the Palestinians’ most generous Arab host. Riyadh is convinced . . . that a Palestinian state would constitute another rogue anti-Saudi regime, [and that] the Palestinian Authority and Hamas [are] active or potential allies of Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Iran’s ayatollahs, Hizballah, and the Muslim Brotherhood, [all of] which aim to topple the House of Saud.

At the same time, Saudi ties with Israel have expanded substantially—militarily, commercially, technologically, medically, and agriculturally—despite the lack of progress on the Palestinian issue and in the face of mutual threats and challenges. [The] House of Saud . . . considers Israel an essential, reliable, and effective ally in the face of these threats. While the United States is, by far, a more significant ally of Saudi Arabia, its reliability was deeply eroded in Riyadh during the 2009-2016 U.S.-Iran honeymoon.

Israel’s posture of deterrence is based—to a large extent—on topographic high grounds (the Golan Heights and the Judea and Samaria mountain ridges), which have transformed Israel into a key regional force-multiplier, bolstering the national security of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and other pro-U.S. Arab regimes. A retreat from these high grounds would demolish Israel’s posture of deterrence, denying Saudi Arabia and all other pro-U.S. Arab regimes a critical line of defense.

Read more at JNS

More about: Israel diplomacy, Palestinian statehood, Saudi Arabia


Israel Just Sent Iran a Clear Message

Early Friday morning, Israel attacked military installations near the Iranian cities of Isfahan and nearby Natanz, the latter being one of the hubs of the country’s nuclear program. Jerusalem is not taking credit for the attack, and none of the details are too certain, but it seems that the attack involved multiple drones, likely launched from within Iran, as well as one or more missiles fired from Syrian or Iraqi airspace. Strikes on Syrian radar systems shortly beforehand probably helped make the attack possible, and there were reportedly strikes on Iraq as well.

Iran itself is downplaying the attack, but the S-300 air-defense batteries in Isfahan appear to have been destroyed or damaged. This is a sophisticated Russian-made system positioned to protect the Natanz nuclear installation. In other words, Israel has demonstrated that Iran’s best technology can’t protect the country’s skies from the IDF. As Yossi Kuperwasser puts it, the attack, combined with the response to the assault on April 13,

clarified to the Iranians that whereas we [Israelis] are not as vulnerable as they thought, they are more vulnerable than they thought. They have difficulty hitting us, but we have no difficulty hitting them.

Nobody knows exactly how the operation was carried out. . . . It is good that a question mark hovers over . . . what exactly Israel did. Let’s keep them wondering. It is good for deniability and good for keeping the enemy uncertain.

The fact that we chose targets that were in the vicinity of a major nuclear facility but were linked to the Iranian missile and air forces was a good message. It communicated that we can reach other targets as well but, as we don’t want escalation, we chose targets nearby that were involved in the attack against Israel. I think it sends the message that if we want to, we can send a stronger message. Israel is not seeking escalation at the moment.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Iran, Israeli Security