In the last two years, the Saudi media has published no few expressions of support for Israel and for normalizing relations with it. The Iranian threat, and its tangible manifestations in Yemen, Syria and Iraq, have caused Saudis to view Israel as non-threatening and perhaps even as a potential ally in the struggle against Iran. Moreover, the Arab and Western media has occasionally reported that Saudi Arabia is interested in economic cooperation and normalization with Israel and has even taken steps to actualize this.
In terms of its official position, however, Saudi Arabia has been careful to stress that it has no relations with Israel, and that it opposes Israel's policy towards the Palestinians and remains committed to the Arab Peace Initiative, which makes normalization conditional upon a permanent solution to the Palestinian issue. This position has been articulated by Saudi Arabia's representatives in the UN, as well as by Saudi Arabia's former ambassador to the U.S., Turki Al-Faisal, who, in an interview on Al-Arabiya TV, denied any Saudi cooperation with Israel and clarified that there has been no change in the kingdom's position towards it.
This ambivalent attitude towards Israel is also discernable in op-eds published in the Saudi press. Alongside articles supporting Israel and calling to establish relations with it, there have been articles expressing reservations about maintaining ties with it and even harshly attacking Israel and its policies and accusing it of cooperating with Iran against the Arabs. Some of these articles used brutal language, hoping for Israel's demise and describing any Arab rapprochement with it as treason.
The following are excerpts from some of the latter articles, as well as cartoons against Israel published in the Saudi press:
'Okaz Columnist: Israel Is A "Cancerous Entity" In The Heart Of The Arab World; Accepting It Is Treason
In his column in the Saudi daily 'Okaz, journalist Sadqa Fadil listed arguments against normalizing relations with the "cancerous entity" Israel, and called the Zionist movement "the bitterest enemy of the Arab and Muslim nation." He added that any Arab who accepted Israel was committing treason against himself.
Fadil wrote: "The truth about the Zionist entity, its political character, its goals and its ambitions is already known not only to political observers but also to ordinary people, both Arab and non-Arab. Now that this cancerous entity has existed in the heart of the Arab nation for 70 years, most of the Arab peoples have become aware of the truth about this mini-state, whose aggressive expansion policy has caused them [to feel] nothing but rage, fury and profound hatred. There is a small and unimportant minority of pro-Zionists who regard Israel as an ordinary and 'respectable' state. It appears that people become [pro-Zionist] only if they possess one or more of the following characteristics: [a desire] to be rewarded by Israel in some way; a corrupt and inhuman character; ignorance regarding the character, the true [nature] and the history of the Zionist entity, or hypocrisy and [an urge] to pander to the those who support Israel and its aggression, especially the U.S., out of a belief that 'the way to America's heart passes through Israel.'
"An honest person, especially an Arab, cannot accept Israel as it is today, for accepting it is ideological blindness and treason against oneself. Accepting Israel as it is today, without pressuring it to meet the demands of a peace that will realize [at least] the minimal rights of the Palestinians, means foolish and despicable normalization [given] for free. Such a humiliating and degrading normalization has terrible, horrible and negative implications and consequences for the Arabs, mainly:
Abandoning the Palestinians and denying them justice, while perpetuating the terrible injustice being committed against them and abetting the exacerbation of this horrific Arab and human tragedy... The establishment of an independent Palestinian state will put an end to the crazy Zionist dreams and curb Israel's expansionist policy. The only way Israel's evil will be curbed is through its possible elimination, or confinement to the 1967 borders.
The Zionist movement does not target Palestine alone, but all Arabs and Muslims. It seeks to establish 'Greater Israel' from the Nile to the Euphrates over the corpse of the Arab nation! Otherwise, would Israel have kept this vast arsenal of conventional and strategic [i.e., non-conventional] weapons just to confront the Palestinians?!
This cancerous entity is considered – or should be considered – the bitterest enemy of the Arab and Muslim nation. No other entity in the world is more hostile towards Arabism. How can the Arabs safeguard [their] security when Arab [countries] are opening their doors wide to Israel?...
"Arab countries must not cite the relations established by the Palestinians, Egyptians and Jordanians with Israel as justification [for normalization with it]. These [countries] were forced to establish relations – very cold ones – with this entity because they were in direct conflict with the Zionist enemy. Everyone knows how much they suffer due to these relations with the Zionists, tepid and limited as they are, [for the Zionists] treat them with arrogance and threaten them with weapons. The Arab countries that are outside the circle of [direct] confrontation do not need such relations, which would cause them more harm than good, in addition to the harm they would cause to the central issue, [of Palestine]. There are dozens of Arab agreements and commitments that forbid any Arab country to establish relations with Israel...
"The above implies that whoever dares extend his hand to Israel as it is today perpetrates treason against himself, his homeland, his society and his nation..."
The Israeli scorpion demolishes a Palestinian building (Al-Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, November 14, 2018)
'Okaz Columnist: Israel Is Not A State; It Is Destined To Disappear
Another 'Okaz columnist, Talal Bannan, stated that Israel is not a true state, and that the day will come when the West, no longer able to tolerate the political, moral and economic burden it represents, will "rid itself" of Israel. He added that this country is also gradually losing its power of deterrence. He wrote: "...Israel is not a state from the technical, political, scientific or moral perspective. It is difficult to say that Israel represents the national identity of its 'nation' or its authentic right to self-determination. Let me take this opportunity [to note that] the Nationality Law recently [passed by Israel] grants the right of self-determination to Jews alone, when over 30 percent of Israel's 'citizens' are Arabs! In any case, the Palestinian Arabs of 1948 [i.e., the Israeli Arabs], of all sectors, not only reject the Israeli identity but challenge Israel's very [right to] exist on their land. There are also Jews who challenge the legitimacy of Israel's existence on religious, national and cultural grounds...
"Since it lacks the main characteristics of a state, Israel's existence should be attributed to two main factors: external forces, and its power of deterrence. Even if the West managed to solve its internal Jewish problem by establishing Israel, it has discovered that the political, moral and economic cost of this [measure] is very high. The day will come when the West will no longer be able to tolerate Israel and will rid itself of it, especially since the Jewish problem in the Western societies persists...
"Regardless of the historical and moral debate about Israel's very [right to] exist, it has neither the characteristics of a state nor the strategic deterrence capability to [continue] imposing its temporary existence on the region. Israel is a failed political project that will surely come to an end; such is the decree of history."
Israel pulverizes Palestinian homes and mosques and churns out Jewish homes (Makkah, Saudi Arabia, March 29, 2019)
Saudi Columnist Rejects Any Normalization With Israel, Which He Claims Is Collaborating With Iran
Also scathingly hostile to Israel was an article by Muhammad Al-Sa'idi, a lecturer on Islam at Umm Al-Qura University and a columnist for the daily Al-Watan. Following the February 2019 Warsaw summit, which was attended by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as well as by Arab foreign ministers, and which condemned Iran's policy in the Middle East, he asserted firmly that Saudi Arabia has no contacts with Israel, overt or covert. He added that Israel actually cooperates with Iran, although the two countries are careful to present themselves as enemies because they derive benefit from this.
Al-Sa'idi wrote: "To date, Saudi Arabia has no ties, overt or covert, with the Zionist entity. Those who claim that contacts take place under the table were asked years ago to present even a single leak as proof [of their claim], but were unable to do so. All they do is talk about meetings between Israeli officials and [Saudis] who have no [official] authority and represent nobody but themselves. The [Saudi] authorities have denied any responsibility for their behavior, and some were even summoned for interrogation and were barred from [leaving the country] for what they did. Ultimately, meetings do not reflect the positions of countries...
"On February 8, , the Zionist Channel 13... aired reports confirming that all the efforts to persuade Saudi Arabia to normalize its relations with the Zionist entity had failed, and that Saudi Arabia adheres to the Arab Initiative, which mentions Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine and the right of return of all Palestinians...
[As for] the Zionists' purported hostility towards [Iran's] Ayatollah regime and their desire to eliminate it, history and the facts prove that these are false claims... After [the exposure of] the Iran-Contra scandal, the fact that the Zionists were among the supporters of Iran during its war with Iraq became so universally known that there is no need to present it... [Furthermore,] everything Iran is doing in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen serves the interests of the Zionist entity more than anyone else's, in many ways, especially by pushing the Palestinian issue off the agenda of statesmen, peoples, intellectuals and the media... As for Iran's and the Zionists' insistence on presenting themselves as enemies, [they do it because] it benefits them both..."
 For examples of support for Israel in the Saudi press, see MEMRI reports: Inquiry & Analysis No. 1398, Shift In Saudi Media's Attitude To Israel – Part I: Saudi Writers, Intellectuals: Iran Is More Dangerous Than Israel; Peace With It Is Vital In Order To Repel Iranian Threat, May 29, 2018; Inquiry & Analysis No. 1399, Shift In Saudi Media's Attitude To Israel – Part II: Saudi Writer Who Visited Israel: We Want An Israeli Embassy In Riyadh; We Should Make Peace With Israel, Uproot Culture Of Hatred For Jews, May 29, 2018; Special Dispatch No. 6951, Saudi Columnist: Iran Is The Real Enemy, Not Israel, June 6, 2017; Special Dispatch No. 6574, Articles In Saudi Press: End The Antisemitic Discourse, Learn From The Jews' Success, August 13, 2016.
 See for example statements delivered by Saudi UN Ambassador 'Abdallah Al-Mou'allimi to the General Assembly in late January (Al-Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, January 23, 2019), and recent statements delivered at the Human Right Committee by Saudi UN representative 'Abd 'Abd Al-'Aziz Al-Wasil (alarabiya.net, March 18, 2019).
 English.alarabiya.net, February 14, 2019.
 'Okaz (Saudi Arabia), December 16, 2018.
 'Okaz (Saudi Arabia), November 20, 2018.
 It is unclear to whom Al-Sa'idi is referring. The reference may be to former Saudi ambassador to the U.S., Turki Al-Faisal, who participated in a discussion with former Mossad head Efraim Halevy in October 2017, or to retired Saudi general Anwar 'Eshqi, who met in June 2015 with then Israeli Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold (on a reaction to the latter meeting, see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6072, Saudi Journalist: Since Oslo, Handshakes Between Top Arab Officials And Their Israeli Counterparts Are Accepted Practice, June 16, 2015). However, there have been no reports of measures taken against either Al-Faisal or 'Eshqi due to their contacts with Israelis.
 An affair exposed in 1986, in which the U.S. secretly supplied arms to Iran and funds to the Contras in Nicaragua, with Israeli involvement.
 Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), March 2, 2019.