If there is one thing more unexpected than the horror we have been witnessing in Gaza over the last week, it is how Iran and Saudi Arabia are responding to it. Namely, they evidently discussed it over the phone in a historic first.
Ebrahim Raisi of Iran and Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, had a 45-minute conversation on Wednesday. They ended it by pledging their support for Palestine. They also agreed to work toward a de-escalation of the military and “the need to stop the war crimes committed against Palestine,” according to Iranian media. As if Hamas were not the aggressor and that they themselves were committing war crimes.
According to the Washington Examiner, the Saudi press reported that the Prince “stressed his Kingdom’s strong position in support of the Palestinian cause as well as supporting efforts to achieve a comprehensive peace and justice for the Palestinians which guarantees their access to legitimate rights.”
A peace deal led jointly by two major Islamic countries will undoubtedly give Israel the short stick. This is especially true when Iran funded and planned the initial attack that started this whole mess.
This is despite the Abraham Accords, which President Trump signed to normalize relations between Saudi Arabia & Israel. China, however, was able to convince Riyadh and Tehran to resume diplomatic ties in March.
It is also worth considering what other reasons the Saudis and Iranians might have for starting to talk about Israel. Stephen Green of Not the Bee said that the Muslim world doesn’t hold the Palestinians in high regard. MSNBC was right to say that Iran is more interested in helping the Palestinians than it is in helping the Jewish State. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, has less to gain by improving its lot, despite both countries referring to ummah, or Islam as a collective.
Let’s take a moment to think about it: Iran and Saudi Arabia resumed diplomatic relations after a China-brokered deal. Hamas’ attack on Israel was the first time they had any contact. Now, as Israel is retaliating, they are discussing working together to de-escalate the situation. Iran funds Hamas while Saudi Arabia has been cozy with Israel ever since the Abraham Accords.
Is there something going on, or do I read too much into the 45-minute telephone call between two of the most powerful rivals from the Middle East?