On December 16, 2018, Rotana Khalijiyya TV (Saudi Arabia) aired a debate about normalization of relations with Israel. Saudi journalist Dahham Al-Enazi said that Iran and Turkey are bigger threats in the region, and that the Arab conflict with Israel is over borders while conflict with Iran is a matter of life and death. He advocated normalizing of relations with Israel. Saudi researcher Dr. Muhammad Al-Attar said that the Palestinian leaders do not want to resolve the Palestinian issue. He said that Saudi Arabia has wasted too much money on other Arab nations. Saudi cleric Yousef Al-Quait argued that the Saudi government's official position is not to normalize relations with Israel until the Palestinians get their rights. He accused Al-Enazi of being schizophrenic and of not representing anybody's views. Al-Enazi responded that if he didn't represent anybody's views, he would not have been invited to the show.
Following are excerpts:
Dahham Al-Enazi: This conflict has been going on since before 1948. It existed even before [Hajj Amin] Al-Husseini went to Hitler – who burned the Jews – when there was a proposal to divide the land between Palestine and Israel. Then the war of 1948 stared and Palestine [sic] was established. So this conflict… As intellectuals we should know the facts. We have a real and important conflict between the Persians and the Arabs. The Persian plan is to take over the region. Another real conflict is the one we have with the Neo-Ottomans, who wish to colonize the region once again – especially Mecca and Medina. This is the KSA, and we won't allow its destruction.
Yousef Al-Quait: The government's position is that there will be no normalization before the Palestinians get their rights. Why do you jump the gun?
Dahham Al-Enazi: Shame on any Arab intellectual who does not recognize the Persian and Turkish threats and who, instead, distorts the facts in order to present Israel as the enemy.
Dr. Muhammad Al-Attar (On Phone): [The Palestinians] do not wish to resolve their own issue. I am very empathetic towards the Palestinian people. I have many Palestinian friends and I used to live with them, but their leaders do not want to resolve their issue.
If Saudi Arabia had spent on itself half of what it spent on other Arab [nations], we would have paved the streets of our country with thick marble. All of the money that Saudi Arabia gave the [Palestinians], and all the support we showed in international forums, and so on and so forth… All that money has gone to the pockets of their leaders, and to 17 or 20 Palestinian organizations. This is also true with regard to Lebanon and Syria. Lebanon was destroyed in its most recent war with Israel. [Saudi Arabia] spent a lot of money when the war was over. Where did it all go? To the pockets of those people.
Dahham Al-Enazi: A conflict over borders is not the same as a life-and-death conflict. As Arabs and Palestinians, we have a conflict with Israel over borders, but with Iran, we have a conflict over life and death.
I am exercising my freedom of opinion by calling for Israeli-Saudi relations. I do not represent the Saudi government or the Saudi Foreign Ministry. I'm not influenced by the opinion of John Doe, who says that… We already have relations with China and America.
Host: Do you agree with him, Abdallah? Let's hear Abdallah Al-Keaid's opinion.
Saudi Journalist Abdallah Al-Keaid: Opinion about what?
Host: About the normalization of ties with Israel.
Saudi Journalist Abdallah Al-Keaid: I have nothing to do with it and nothing to say about it. Nobody asked me about this so I don't have to answer. The question was addressed to Dahham, so he should be the one answering it.
Yousef Al-Quait: Do you suffer from megalomania or schizophrenia? You think that you speak on behalf of the Saudi people, and so on… Who are you anyway, Dahham?
Dahham Al-Enazi: I am a columnist and a pundit, my friend. If I wasn't representing [anyone], you wouldn't have invited me to this show.