LONDON: Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog scandalously stated that there should be a special role and responsibility to be given to Saudi Arabia in terms of managing the holy sites such as al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. “Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia is one of the greatest revolutionaries in the Middle East,” also asserted Herzog.
In an interview with Elaph, a London-based daily Arabic online newspaper, Israeli op-position leader Isaac Herzog shared that he was of the opinion that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Sal-man, who had recently ann-ounced that he would return his kingdom to a country of “moderate Islam” and recei-ved the blessings of the United States, Israel and the Gulf, was “one of the greatest revolutionaries in the Middle East” and added that this path and the era he ushered in the region shouldn’t be abandoned.
Herzog also stated that Saudi Arabia’s experience in the management of Islam’s holiest sites in Mecca and M-edina is an indicator that Riy-adh could undertake “a central role” in the management of the holy places in Jeru-salem as well as during pote-ntial deals to be sealed on Je-rusalem and Al-Aqsa particularly. Jerusalem is sacred to both Muslims and Jews, as it includes sites known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif (The Noble Sanctuary), al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the rock, as well as an ancient Jewish temple.
“Fruitful and impressive ideas and feelings of the Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have been remarkable in terms of starting a new era after a hundred years of decolonization and demarcation,” he noted.
These calls come after U.S. President Donald Trump announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Isr-ael’s capital on Dec. 6, sparking angry demonstrations in many Muslim countries and worldwide condemnation.
An Israeli cabinet minister on Nov. 19 revealed that Israel has had covert contacts with Saudi Arabia amid common concerns over Iran, a first disclosure by a senior official from either country. Saudi Arabia does not have official diplomatic relations with Israel.
Ambitious Saudi prince’s ‘vow of returning to moderate Islam’
Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 32, was appointed to the position of Crown Prince and successor to his father, King Salman, 81, which has been viewed by many as a “soft coup.” Bearing many titles including defense minister, deputy prime minister, head of a council overseeing the state-run oil giant Saudi Aramco, chair of the Supreme Economic Council, head of the Public Investment Fund and a pivotal member of the Council of Political and Security Affairs, among others, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman holds much power over the kingdom, which is still officially ruled by his father.
On top of raising doubts in minds with this sort of swift ascension to the power, he draws global attention with his remarks on “returning to what they were before – a country of moderate Islam that was open to all religions and to the world.” What kind of strategies he will follow and how he will conduct his international affairs still hold to be a matter of global concern. The Israeli opposition leader also reminded that he had met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on a few occasions and emphasized that he didn’t agree with U.S. President Donald Trump’s statement claiming an Israeli-Palestinian agreement might be “not as difficult as people have thought.”
He additionally noted that they (Israelis) felt hopeless whereas Palestinians came to a dead end. Furthermore, he indicated that Palestinians, who he considered to be in a cul-de-sac, should avoid a one-sided approach and adopt a rather rational attitude in terms of settling the conflict between the two countries. His hope for a better settlement process, on the other hand, weirdly lies in a more active involvement of Saudi Arabia in the region.