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Saudi visit to Israel angers Hamas

The Hamas movement is worried that a Saudi general's visit to Israel signifies a rapprochement between the two countries at the expense of Gaza relief efforts.
Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal speaks during an interview with Reuters in Doha October 16, 2014. Meshaal on Thursday called on Muslims to defend the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, saying Israel was trying to seize the site, revered in Islam and Judaism and focus of a Palestinian uprising in 2000.      REUTERS/Fadi Al-Assaad (QATAR - Tags: POLITICS RELIGION) - RTR4AH1S

Hamas has called on Saudi Arabia to prevent the normalization of relations with Israel. The appeal, which went up on Hamas' website July 31, raised eyebrows among those who understand Hamas' complicated situation and the importance of tightening relations with Saudi Arabia. The leaders of the movement, who only a year ago thanked Allah for their honorable reception at the palace of the Saudi king, now dare to rebuke the king for his relations with Israel?

Relations between Hamas and Saudi Arabia grew tighter in the past year following the nuclear agreement between six world powers and Tehran. Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, who succeeded his father, then decided on a surprising strategic move and invited the leaders of Hamas, who were then persona non grata in Riyadh, to a meeting at his palace. From the king's standpoint, tightened relations with Hamas — after long years of hostility for its support by Tehran — would enable the Saudis to get closer to the Sunni nations and allow it direct influence on the movement controlling Gaza. Saudi Arabia already has a close relationship with the Palestinian Authority, headed by President Mahmoud Abbas.

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