Saudi Arabia Supported Israel Against Hezbollah During 2006 War

(MEMO— Saudi Arabia supported Israel in its war against Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006, an Israeli TV channel has claimed.

In the third part of a series of reports entitled “Secrets of the Gulf,” Israeli news channel Channel 13 reported on the secret relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia and quoted senior Israeli officials as saying that Tel Aviv had received letters from Riyadh urging it to strike Hezbollah with all its might.

However, the results of the war “caused great disappointment in Riyadh,” according to the channel correspondent, Barak Ravid.

The channel broadcast an interview with the former head of Saudi intelligence, Prince Turki Al-Faisal in London, during which he stressed that Israel must agree to the Arab peace initiative put forward by the Kingdom in 2002. Al-Faisal criticised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for wanting to establish relations with Saudi Arabia before resolving the Palestinian issue, stressing that Saudi Arabia rejects this approach.

Al-Faisal confirmed that he “does not leave Riyadh without informing Saudi officials of his destination,” referring to Saudi Arabia’s official acceptance of his interview with an Israeli channel. Ravid pointed out that the beginning of the development of Israeli-Saudi relations dates back to 2003, when then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon summoned Mossad chief Meir Dagan to hold a meeting and presented him with a study of relations with the Gulf states.

The Israeli correspondent described the meeting as “the beginning of a broad secret diplomatic operation by the Mossad towards the Gulf states, particularly with Saudi Arabia.”

The channel added that Israel has examined several times the attack on nuclear facilities in Iran between 2009 and 2012, and the US observed the intensity of communications between Tel Aviv and Riyadh on this issue.

According to Channel 13’s sources, “Saudi-Israeli relations have witnessed a serious crisis which led to an almost-absolute rupture for more than a year after Netanyahu rejected a bid by Riyadh to make concessions to the Palestinians in exchange for moving forward in the formation of a regional bloc against Iran, but the crisis ended thanks to the current Saudi Crown Prince, [Mohammed] Bin Salman.”

The sources said that Bin Salman [MBS] has not failed to take advantage of any opportunity since he took office as crown prince in June 2016, as he was keen on strengthening the relationship with Israel.

Ravid concluded his report referring to Bin Salman’s increased wariness of rushing towards Tel Aviv due to Palestinian protests and the repercussions following the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. However, Israeli officials hope that MBS will withstand this crisis, “because any Israeli Prime Minister who will win the election [on 9 April] would wish to see bin Salman as king of Saudi Arabia”.

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