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Saudi Arabia and the third Gaza war

Saudi Arabia has remained quiet during the current Gaza war, working instead through Egypt.
Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud (R) and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry wait for a meeting at the King's private residence in the Red Sea city of Jeddah June 27, 2014. Kerry arrived in Jeddah on Friday to discuss the crises in Iraq and Syria with Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and meet Syrian opposition leader Ahmad Jarba, who has close ties to the kingdom. REUTERS/Brendan Smialowski/Pool (SAUDI ARABIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTR3W2PT

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has assumed a very low profile so far during the third Gaza war, speaking publicly rarely and primarily backing its Egyptian ally behind the scenes. Some have confused this quiet as a tacit entente with Israel against Hamas misreading the Saudi position; the kingdom increasingly regards the Netanyahu government as a criminal state. 

The Saudis have been unusually taciturn for much of the Gaza war between Hamas and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The Saudi finance minister announced a $53 million grant for emergency aid to Gaza on July 14 to help the victims of “brutal Israeli aggression,” but the king did not speak out personally until Aug. 1. King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz then denounced Israel for committing a “war crime against humanity” and engaging in a “collective massacre.” He did not specifically mention Israel, but the official Saudi press made clear he meant Israel in general and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in particular. The king never mentioned Hamas at all, but he did speak a great deal about “terrorists” who “distort the pure and humane image of Islam.” The Saudi press has explained those remarks as applying to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS), not to Hamas. He did say the worst kind of terror is state terror, another reference to Israel in Saudi speak.

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