Arab Knesset member complains: Saudi Arabia does not want downfall of Netanyahu
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Arab Knesset member complains: Saudi Arabia does not want downfall of Netanyahu

Joint List head tells Hezbollah-affiliated Al Mayadeen that Riyadh is forging direct alliance with the Israeli right, which he calls the Palestinians' worst enemy

Khaled Abu Toameh is the Palestinian Affairs correspondent for The Times of Israel

Joint (Arab) List leader Ayman Odeh leads a faction meeting in the Knesset in Jerusalem on October 31, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Joint (Arab) List leader Ayman Odeh leads a faction meeting in the Knesset in Jerusalem on October 31, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Saudi Arabia is forging a direct alliance with the Palestinians’ worst enemy – the Israeli right headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, MK Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint (Arab) List, claimed on Tuesday.

“Saudi Arabia does not want the downfall of Netanyahu,” Odeh said. “Saudi Arabia does not want the Israeli right to be replaced. Saudi Arabia believes that Netanyahu is the best man in the battle against Iran,” he said in an interview with the Hezbollah-affiliated Al Mayadeen TV station.

Relations between the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terror group and Saudi Arabia have been tense for the past few years.

Introducing the Knesset member, the presenter of the Dialogue of the Hour program described Odeh as head of the Joint List in “historical Palestine.”

Neither Hezbollah nor Iran recognizes Israel’s right to exist.

Al Mayadeen regularly provides a platform for any Arab or Muslim wishing to condemn Saudi Arabia and other relatively moderate Arab countries.

“What’s new and dangerous is what Saudi Arabia is doing,” Odeh said in the interview. Saudi Arabia is not only coordinating with Israel; this is already behind us, and an established fact. There’s something more dangerous than this. Saudi Arabia is allied with the Israeli right wing and with Netanyahu.”

Odeh said that his accusation was based on a “scientific analysis” of the situation.

Saudi Arabia, he explained, considers the Iranian issue as the most important in the region, even more important than the Israeli-Arab conflict.

“So who’s Saudi Arabia’s ally and shares its view regarding this issue? Is it Avi Gabbay from the Labor Party or Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid? Or is it Netanyahu, the leader of the Israeli extreme right wing? All those watching us now can nod their heads in agreement and say this is the scientifically true.”

Netanyahu frequently boasts of the growing behind the scenes cooperation with Sunni Arab nations like the Saudis or the Gulf States.

Odeh pointed out that in the past Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries used to say that there would not be normalization of relations with Israel before there’s a solution to the Palestinian issue.

Now, he added, there’s a “direct alliance between Saudi Arabia and the Israeli right because the Saudis believe that Netanyahu is the only one capable of inciting America against Iran.”

The Saudis, Odeh said, also believe that Netanyahu is the only one capable of working toward having the Iran deal rescinded.

“Practically, there’s a direct alliance between Saudi Arabia and the Israeli right,” Odeh said, denouncing the current Israeli government as the most dangerous to the Palestinians. “Saudi Arabia is aligning itself with the Palestinians’ staunchest enemies. This is despicable, by all standards.”

Odeh used the Hezbollah-affiliated podium to criticize Arab countries for allegedly promoting normalization with Israel.

“In 1948, some Arab regimes conspired with the Zionist movement against the Palestinian people,” he claimed. “These Arab regimes contributed to the Palestinian Nakba (disaster). Some of these regimes had secret relations with Israel. Some of these regimes later signed peace treaties with Israel,” he said, apparently referring to Jordan and Egypt.

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