Saudi Arabia and the UAE Want to Keep Links with Israel

(Economist) In the war between Israel and Hamas, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates want to weaken Hamas. The UAE, which in 2020 became the first Gulf state to recognize Israel, responded to the Oct. 7 attack with sympathy with Israel, and its leaders made multiple condolence calls to their Israeli counterparts. They loathe political Islam, which they see as a threat, and in private are scathing in their criticism of Hamas. On Oct. 17, Turki bin Faisal Al Saud, who led Saudi Arabia's intelligence service from 1979 to 2001, spoke in English to an American think-tank and denounced Hamas for killing civilians. On Oct. 18, Al Arabiya, a Saudi-owned news channel, interviewed Khaled Meshaal, the former head of Hamas. Rasha Nabil, the presenter, asked him repeatedly how Hamas could expect support from other Arab countries after it made a unilateral decision to go to war, pressed him to condemn the murder of Israeli civilians, and needled him on whether Iran's help had "lived up to your expectations." Clips of the interview were widely shared on social media and even on Israeli television. For Qatar, a supporter of Hamas, those ties have become a source of embarrassment. Some of Hamas' leadership lives in Doha, the Qatari capital, and the emirate donates up to $30 million a month to Hamas-run Gaza.

2023-10-24 00:00:00

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