Greater Israel near completion

Dr. Jamil Ahmed Khan

The writer is a former ambassador, senior analyst and international affairs expert.

When we speak about the Palestine dispute, we are often overwhelmed with the mention of Masjid Al-Aqsa. Despite the myriad of differences, all Muslims and not just Palestinians have an emotional attachment to the holy place which has been epicentre of contentions for decades.

Israel is considering handing over the administration and control of Al-Aqsa mosque to Saudi Arabia. The decision will certainly boost Saudi Arabia’s role and strengthen US plan in the Middle East. Looking at the past, it is heartening for a Muslim to see that Saudi Arabia will gain control of the Al-Aqsa mosque. Along with Makkah and Madinah, our First Qiblah would now also be under Saudi control.

A closer look at the issue will link the move to the Palestine dispute. Palestinians has always claimed that Jerusalem will be their undisputed capital and Al-Aqsa mosque will be part of it. The mosque lies in East Jerusalem which has been occupied by Israel. Thus, the decision to hand over control of Al-Aqsa to Saudi Arabia will end this conflict and Israel will undoubtedly be the biggest benefactor.

The two-state solution is often considered the solution to the long-standing Israel-Palestine conflict. This was manifested in the historic Camp David Accords and the global community was under the impression that the Palestinian conflict could only be resolved with a two-state solution to ensure regional peace and stability. Nevertheless, for the past 15 years, Israel is pursuing the policy of a unified state including all occupied territories, effectively wiping the creation of an independent Palestinian state by bringing it under the Israeli flag. Israel has expedited efforts for this single-state agenda to achieve its goal.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other Arab states have indicated that calling for an independent Palestine state is no longer among their priority.

Palestinians are being lured by offering concessions and development projects to come under the Israeli flag and assurances of living freely. The truth is that Palestinians living under Israeli occupation have always been treated as second-class citizens without equal rights liberties. If a state agenda is fulfilled in the future, Israel will undoubtedly prevail and the Palestinians will live under Israeli oppression forever.

Saudi Arabia is dominant in the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC). Even when Israel was shifting its capital from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Saudis issued a brief condemnation but there was no statement from the 57-member global body. Israel had no right to shift the capital without resolving the matter but still, Saudi Arabia chose to remain silent and facilitated Israel in the process.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and other Arab states have indicated that calling for an independent Palestine state is no longer among their priority. Neither is the creation of the state expected anytime in the future. Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman has said the Palestinians should accept the offer by the United States and Israel or remain quiet.

Israel has established diplomatic relations with many Arab countries who never recognized the Jewish state since it was found in 1948. The current scenario clearly indicates that Saudi Arabia is siding with Israel. Many Muslim countries are expected to establish relations with Israel. Given the circumstances, it seems that the plan for Greater Israel is nearing completion.