Are Saudi liberals proposing to move Al-Aqsa?

Saudi Arabia has not officially joined the so-called «Abraham Accords» signed by the leaders of Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain in the American White House on August 13, 2020, in the presence and at the initiative of Donald Trump.

Furthermore, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and other official figures of the Kingdom have repeatedly stated before and after that they continue to support the Palestinians in their struggle for an independent state with its capital in (East) Jerusalem and the de-occupation of their internationally recognized lands (from Jewish settlements).

However, it is no secret that there are ideological and influential supporters of the full normalization of relations with Israel and the implementation of a policy towards it that the current leadership of the UAE is pursuing, that is, a policy of absolute carte blanche to Israel and the so-called Jewish settlers in all their actions regarding Palestine, as well as absolute distancing from the latter.

In the Islamic world, there are those who propose to differentiate between the national struggle of the Palestinian people and the pan-Islamic interests, primarily related to the preservation of Al-Aqsa as a Muslim shrine, access to it by Muslims, and its protection from the encroachments of Jewish messianic fanatics who want to build the «Third Temple» in its place.

Moderate Zionists who do not share the aspirations of these fanatics find such a position convenient, since Israel has so far ensured the security of Al-Aqsa by recognizing the Kingdom of Jordan as its guardian.

However, pro-Zionist Saudi liberals have decided to go further and recently published an article in one of their organs saying that Muslims should not be particularly worried about Al-Aqsa because it is not Al-Aqsa. This is stated in the article «Where is the Al-Aqsa Mosque?» by Osama Yemani, published in the Saudi newspaper Okaz.

In it, this «historical-geographical revolutionary» claims that the real Al-Aqsa, i.e. the mosque of the first Qibla of the Muslim Ummah of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and greet him, was located 30 kilometers from Mecca, in Djouran, and that attributing it to Jerusalem was an innovation of the Umayyads, who built their mosque there. In fact, this is already a classic trick of the supporters of the Zionist occupation.

We should remember that within the framework of the «deal of the century» of Trump and Netanyahu, they decided to proceed in the same way with the future Palestinian state and its capital. Nominally not denying it, it proposes to create a fragmented and fully controlled Bantustan controlled by the Zionists and to establish its capital in the village of Abu Dis in its suburbs (

But the Saudi liberals have decided to go even further — they are planning to occupy Palestinian lands, until now the more or less reasonable Zionists were still afraid to encroach on Al-Aqsa, understanding its value for the entire Ummah.

And now the Saudi liberals are providing an ideological basis for the Ummah’s abandonment of this value, which would allow the Zionists to close this issue and give them a free hand to fulfill the boldest desires of Jewish messianic groups.

But why are we not talking about a specific author, but about Saudi liberals? The point is that this newspaper, Okaz, is not some small-circulation paper, but one of the most massive media outlets in Saudi Arabia and one of the two recognized mouthpieces of Saudi liberals, presumably patronized by former Crown Prince Nayef. It is indicative of what this Saudi liberalism consists of.

No, it does not include the struggle for political freedoms and support for the opposition — on the contrary, journalists from Okaz denied the guilt of the Saudi authorities in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, attributing it to unknown radicals who allegedly wanted to tarnish them.

And a former employee of this media outlet, Hussein Shobokshi, who called for political liberalization in the kingdom, was fired and blacklisted, just like Khashoggi. The liberalism of this newspaper lies in its support for feminism, «sexual freedom,» including the normalization of homosexuality, and attacks on «Islamists» inside and outside the kingdom.

An integral part of this Saudi liberal agenda is fierce anti-Palestinian sentiment and the same pro-Zionism. Interestingly, in the latter, Saudi liberals, like their Emirati counterparts, demonstrate colonialism and inadequacy of thought compared to Western liberals who have long condemned militant Zionism as a form of neo-fascism.

Not to mention that Israeli liberals themselves treat them in a similar way, advocating a peaceful solution to the Palestinian problem on a compromise basis that includes the abandonment of the occupation of Palestine, the recognition of East Jerusalem as its capital, and the unconditional preservation of Al-Aqsa as a Muslim shrine.

However, while many Western and Israeli liberals take into account the interests of Muslims, their Saudi and Emirati colleagues are ready to completely abandon them and show solidarity with the most extreme Israeli neo-fascists and fundamentalists. What can we say?

It is obvious that the dominance of such sentiments in the Saudi establishment is incompatible with the possibility of reuniting the kingdom with the mainstream of the Islamic world, which has been discussed recently (

Either they will be completely marginalized in public opinion, leaving no doubt that they are not supported by the leadership of the kingdom, or they will finally turn the kingdom into a twin brother of the UAE in its current form.

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