Sudan’s Action Is Understandable; Many Arab Countries Hold Ties With Israel

Following Meeting Between Leaders Of Sudan And Israel, a Senior Saudi Journalist replies


News of the February 3, 2020 meeting between Sudanese Sovereignty Council Chairman ‘Abd Al-Fattah Al-Burhan and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sparked criticism in the Palestinian and Arab media. Responding to this criticism, Saudi journalist ‘Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed. formerly the editor of the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat and the director of Al-Arabiya TV, expressed understanding for Al-Burhan’s motives in forming ties with Israel. He noted that that the Sudanese leader is acting to remove his country from US and international terror lists, and that many other Arab states, including Qatar and even the Palestinian Authority, likewise hold ties with Israel because it suits their interests. The attack on Al-Burhan within Sudan is unjustified, he said, and stems from narrow political motives of the Muslim Brotherhood, which lost power in the country about a year ago.

The following is his article, as published in the English-language edition of Al-Sharq Al-Awsat.[1]  

‘Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed (source:

“In our region things are not always what they seem, as in the case of the intense attack against Sudan and the chairman of its Sovereign Council, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, under the pretext of his meeting with the Israeli prime minister in Uganda.

“The main driver behind this attack is none other than the Muslim Brotherhood, which lost power in Sudan last year. Its members are disgruntled because the Sudanese authorities began to uproot thousands of them from the educational, security and economic institutions that the Brotherhood took over during the rule of the previous regime.

“Sudan, like other countries, faces serious challenges that cannot be taken lightly, and it cannot act against its supreme interests. We cannot lose sight of the fact that more than half of all Arab countries — including Tunisia, Qatar, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Oman and others — have dealt with Israel.

“We also cannot forget that some officials of the Palestinian Authority (PA), which was previously boycotted by some Arab states on the pretext that it had concluded a deal with Israel, are making the same mistake.
Political bullying against Arab governments in the name of Palestine or Israel is unacceptable. Everyone is tired of this declining political rhetoric, which had the audacity to criticize states without taking into account their circumstances and necessities. States have their supreme interests, and sovereign decisions are not to be decided on Twitter. Nor should they be pressured by those who have personal whims or interests.

“Why does the PA deal with the Israeli government, buy electricity from it and exchange security information? The reason is that it is obliged to do so. Why does a Sudanese sovereign official meet with an Israeli official? Because his country is still sanctioned and he has to search for solutions to end its crises.

“Sudan is going through a difficult transitional period in which it faces internal and external intrigues, and the Palestinians must not be exploited. Let us not forget that the Iranians involved the previous Sudanese regime in their battles over the years. The Sudanese people paid a high price for this. Indeed, naval and air chases sank Iranian ships off Sudanese ports, and Iranian military training camps were bombed on Sudanese territory. In addition, the crimes of the previous Sudanese regime against its people placed the country on international and US sanctions lists. Sudan does not have many options if it wants to lift these sanctions, move away from the Iranian strategy of conflict and shift to internal development.

“The Brotherhood’s incitement machine has been working overtime since the Sudanese successfully reached an agreement that is the only one of its kind in the areas of the Arab world afflicted by political turmoil. This is why incitement is to be expected from disgruntled parties and their allies. A number of the Brotherhood’s leaders have fled and settled in Istanbul, joining the leaders of the Egyptian group and others there.

“Regardless of the motives for criticizing Sudan, the Palestinian cause is the biggest loser when it is exploited by such people, who have long used it to serve their own interests and to fight their battles. No one dares to speak against the incitement practiced by some Palestinian officials close to Doha. Al-Burhan’s meeting in Entebbe lasted two hours, while they have been silent about meetings taking place since the 1990s.”

[1], February 6, 2020.

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  1. Senior Arab diplomatic sources on Thursday night said intensive talks were taking place between Washington, Jerusalem, Cairo and Riyadh to convene a summit in the Egyptian capital, which will include a meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman.

    Senior Arab officials told Israel Hayom, meanwhile, that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his team have been mediating between Israel and Saudi Arabia on the matter for the past several months.

    Follow Israel Hayom on Facebook and Twitter

    One senior Arab diplomatic source, who confirmed the details to Israel Hayom, said, “In recent days there have been very intensive discussions between Washington, Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia to arrange a summit meeting in Cairo as early as the coming weeks, even before the election in Israel, which aside from the host, Egypt, will be attended by the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia and also the leaders of the United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Bahrain and Oman.”

    Bahrain also proposed hosting the summit in the capital Manama, suggesting that Netanyahu meet the Saudi crown prince there.

    According to other Arab sources, Jordan, too, received an invitation to the summit, if it indeed takes place, and that the Jordanians have engaged in talks with various Arab states to convey their position on the matter. According to a senior official, in Amman, Jordan’s King Abdullah wants Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to receive a summit invitation. The Jordanians, for their part, have received messages from Washington that discussions with Ramallah on the matter were, in fact, taking place and that Israel has agreed in principle to the Palestinians’ participation.

    A senior PA official confirmed those details to Israel Hayom, and said that for the time being “Abbas and the leadership in Ramallah would adhere to their boycott of Washington and to freezing diplomatic ties with Israel.” According to the official, Washington has told the PA that “this would likely be Abbas’ and the Palestinians’ last chance to climb down from the tree and partake in the diplomatic developments unfolding in the region.”

    Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas meet in Paris, September 21, 2018 (Wafa news agency)
    Meanwhile, another senior official in Ramallah confirmed to Israel Hayom that former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is attempting to arrange a press conference with Abbas at the United Nations in New York next week to address the Trump administration’s vision for Middle East peace.

    Olmert is expected to express his opposition to the plan, and remind observers that he was on the threshold of an agreement with the Palestinians at the end of his term as prime minister.

    According to Palestinian sources, what Olmert intends to say could help Abbas in mobilizing broad international support to reject the Trump plan.

    Abbas is scheduled to speak at the United Nations in New York next week and attend a UN Security Council meeting.

    An official in Abbas’ office told Israel Hayom that Abbas still hadn’t decided whether to take part in the joint press conference. Olmert and Abbas last met in Paris around a year and a half ago.

    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, the main architect of the US peace plan, slammed Olmert and Abbas as “almost pathetic.”

    While speaking to reporters outside the United Nations on Thursday, Kushner said, “It is almost pathetic that they are criticizing other people’s efforts to try and reach an agreement. It comes from a lot of jealousy that they couldn’t do it themselves.”

    He continued: “If you really want to make peace, then you need to encourage the efforts of other people to try and make peace instead of trying to make headlines when you are not relevant and intervening in the situation to get attention.”

    Olmert and Abbas are “publicly opposing the plan when they had the chance and failed, I see that as disrespectful,” he added.

    Parts of this article were originally published by i24NEWS

    Another positive step towards eventual Saudi normalization of relations with Israel. Also, possible eventual normalization with Sudan.

  2. Sudan’s leader: I felt comfortable with Netanyahu, we ate together
    General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan discusses his meeting with PM Netanyahu: I told him about the interests of Sudan.

    General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan
    Sudan’s leader, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, on Saturday gave an interview to a local newspaper in which he discussed his meeting this past week with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

    Burhan said in the interview, according to Israel’s Channel 12 News, that he sat and ate with Netanyahu and that they even served food to one another.

    Commenting on the meeting itself, he said, “I told Netanyahu about the interests of Sudan. The Palestinians also have interests of their own.”

    Burhan also recalled, “A few days before I met with Netanyahu, I prayed to God. I asked him if this was good for Sudan. If it is – I’ll go. If not, tell me and I won’t go. God gave me the feeling that I needed to go and meet with him.”.

    Sudan’s leader was asked in the interview whether he was afraid of Netanyahu when he came to shake hands and replied, “I felt comfortable with Netanyahu, we ate together. I gave him bread and he gave me meat. We ate from the same plate. Netanyahu laughed when I gave him the bread.”

    Burhan said this week that the meeting with Netanyahu, which surprised even Sudan’s cabinet, was driven by his responsibility to protect the country’s national security.

    Sudanese top brass have backed Burhan’s initiative in holding the meeting, saying it will help boost national security.

    While Netanyahu’s office said after the meeting that the two leaders had agreed to cooperate towards normalizing ties, Sudan’s cabinet later said that Burhan had made no promise to Netanyahu of “normalizing ties” between the two countries.

    From this morning’s Arutz Sheva.

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