It’s sometimes essential for nations to put aside ideological differences in the face of a greater threat. Would Great Britain, France and the United States have subdued Germany in World War Two if they hadn’t united with the Soviet Union in doing so? Despite Russia’s autocratic and brutal regime at the time, this was a necessary alliance to make. A deal with the devil is sometimes unavoidable.
Our beloved Israel has found itself in a similar predicament. With the reality of an empowered Iran, Israel would be one of the first targets of its hellish agenda. Not only is it antagonized by Iran-backed militants — such as Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad — Israel’s destruction has been pledged by the Iranian regime, and various commanders within it.
Sadly, Israel’s traditional ally — the US — has seemingly disregarded its safety, by carelessly striking this perilous agreement. Israel could therefore benefit from a new alliance; with someone who equally opposes the Iran nuclear deal.
So who could fill this role? Well as Iran is the threat, it would make sense to align with another state who oppose it. The obvious answer is Saudi Arabia.
If anyone mentioned an Israel-Saudi alliance decades ago, the prospect would seem bizarre. After all, the Saudi kingdom opposed Israel’s existence since its birth in 1948; it quadrupled oil prices in the 1970s, simply to deter America’s support for Israel; and it partook in an Arab League boycott on Israeli goods from 1945 onwards.
Boycotts themselves have become relaxed by Saudi Arabia, partly because it realizes the benefits of bridging ties with Israel, and because the US had pushed them both together in recent years — being two of its key allies in the Middle East. Clearly an unprecedented sign of positive relations. Direct flights between both nations were raised as a potential idea too.
Yet not only that, many within Saudi Arabia would not oppose such an alliance. One poll shows that 52% of Saudis see Iran as the greatest threat, while only 18% said Israel. Like these Saudis, I see Iran as a more impending danger, and would see the Saudis as the lesser of two evils, in terms of an alliance.
Some might perceive Saudi Arabia’s demands for Israel to accept the Arab Peace initiative — Israel’s withdrawal to the 1967 borders, in exchange for full diplomatic relations with the Arab states — as an obstacle. Egypt and Jordan have advocated the deal, despite normalizing relations with Israel in recent decades. Those who oppose the deal argue that Israel would jeopardize itself if surrendering power under the terms of Saudi Arabia.
As someone who supports Israel’s sovereignty, this has been a deep concern of mine. I would not want it to compromise on its own safety. Yet I see the importance of building strong relations with neighbours, despite any bad blood in history. And with the threat of Iran, this is more imperative than ever.
No doubt the Saudi Kingdom would view it this way too, and would see the Arab Peace Initiative is trivial in comparison to the threat of Iran. Even if Israel did not accept the deal, both could remain close anyway. And for the interests of both nations, such an alliance would be essential.