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Hamas and Saudi Arabia: A return to good relations?

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Last week, Saudi Satellite TV Channel Al Arabiya surprised its audience when it hosted Chief of Hamas Political Bureau abroad Khaled Meshaal. The last time a Hamas official was hosted by this TV Channel was six years ago, before the new phase of souring relations between Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement.

Regarding aid, Meshaal hailed the Saudi Kingdom, its people and its rulers, asserting that Saudi is a leading supporter of Palestinian rights and the Palestinian cause. He called for the kingdom to regain its positive relations with his movement. At the same time, he did not forget to call for Riyadh to release the Palestinian prisoners enduring tough conditions in Saudi jails, including Hamas members and leaders.

Throughout the show, Saudi Arabia benefitted from Hamas's praise, being the most popular Palestinian faction across Arab and Muslim states, considering Saudi's massacres in Yemen since 2015, its fighting of Islamists in the region and secularising the kingdom.

It has been known for decades that the parameters of Arabs' support for their leaders are the latter's support for Palestine and the Palestinians. Therefore, at this stage, when Saudi Arabia is facing wide-scale criticism for ignoring the Palestinians during the latest Israeli offensive, while Hamas is being hailed and celebrated widely among the Arabs, the Saudi regime needed Hamas's praise and commendation.

Doctoring the recording of the show, which was posted on the website of the Saudi channel, and cutting the clip when Meshaal called for Saudi Arabia to release Hamas and other Palestinian prisoners from its jails, is evidence that Saudi required only positive remarks and praise from Hamas. However, the appearance of the senior Hamas leader could be a hint towards a new stage of good relations between the two sides.

READ: Saudi removes Hamas' call for release of Palestine prisoners from TV........

© Middle East Monitor

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