Israeli Leftist Party Hadash Condemns Visit by Saudi Delegation

Visit legitimizes Israel's 'refusal strategy' on Palestinian issue, party argues, after rare visit by delegation headed by former high-ranking officer in Saudi military.

Former Saudi General Anwar Eshki and a delegation of Saudi academics and business people meet with Israeli Knesset members, July 22, 2016.

The leftist party Hadash condemned an unusual visit by a Saudi delegation to Israel, accusing it of legitimizing Israel's "refusal strategy" toward diplomatic initiatives facing the Palestinians. 

“The recent visit by Saudi personalities, including former general Anwar Eshki, and their meetings with representatives of the Netanyahu government, on the pretext of advancing a dialogue about the Arab peace initiative, were not designed to challenge Israel’s refusal strategy, but to legitimize it by giving Arab ‘sponsorship’ to voiding the initiative of any content and for eliminating the two-state solution and the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination," said a statement issued by Hadash, a faction with the Joint List of Arab parties. 

"The visit is part of the normalization of cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Israel against Iran, Syria and resistance movements in the region,” the statement continued.

Two weeks ago Hadash also condemned Egypt’s foreign minister Sameh Shoukry’s visit to Jerusalem as well as his meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu. The condemnation of both visits was issued by the Hadash secretariat without the endorsement of other members of the Arab Joint List.

The Saudi delegation of academics and businessmen visited Israel last week. It was headed by retired general Anwar Eshki, who met Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold, as well as the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai. 

The Saudi delegation also met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and other senior officials in Ramallah. 

The delegation also met opposition Knesset members on Friday. The meeting was organized by Meretz MK Esawi Freige, who told Haaretz that they had also met Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid. Freige and other participants at the meeting said that Eshki wanted to meet them in order to encourage dialogue in Israel about the Arab peace initiative.