Saudi Regime Green Lighting Israeli Atrocities against Palestinians: Ex-US Diplomat

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – An American author and former diplomat from Washington slammed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s recent remarks in support of the Israeli regime and said Riyadh is “green lighting any and all future Israeli atrocities” against Palestinians.

“By saying the Zionist Entity has a right to its own land, the Saudi crown prince is green lighting any and all future Israeli atrocities against the Palestinian people,” Michael Springmann, the former head of the American visa bureau in Saudi Arabia, said in an interview with the Tasnim News Agency.

J. Michael Springmann served in the US government as a diplomat with the State Department's Foreign Service, with postings in Germany, India, and Saudi Arabia. He left federal service and currently practices law in the Washington, DC, area. Springmann’s works and interviews have been published in numerous foreign policy publications, including Covert Action Quarterly, Unclassified, Global Outlook, the Public Record, OpEdNews, Global Research and Foreign Policy Journal.

The following is the full text of the interview:

Tasnim: Last Friday, Israeli forces shot dead four other Palestinians, including a 15-year-old boy, as tens of thousands gathered in a mass demonstration in the besieged Gaza Strip demanding the right of return for Palestinian refugees. The latest deaths bring the number of Palestinians killed by Israel since the protests began in late March to 45. According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, more than 6,000 have been wounded. For the past five Fridays, tens of thousands of Palestinians have gathered near the borders in the Gaza Strip for what has been dubbed the “Great March of Return”. Israel has responded with snipers firing live ammunition, as well as tank shelling and airstrikes. What do you think about the developments and the Israeli regime’s crimes?

Springmann: My view on Israel's vicious attacks on the unarmed Palestinians seeking the return of their land, given away by the United Kingdom in the Balfour Declaration of 1917: They are murder, war crimes, and human rights violations. As I noted in an article for ArabAmeirca.com, "The focus of the Lame Stream Media, as exemplified by the Washington Post of April 7, is that the estimated 30,000 protesters threw rocks and Molotov Cocktails at Israeli “Defense” Forces. Moreover, the Palestinians burned tires, creating smoke to hide them from Israeli soldiers. Additionally, they crowded almost up to the fence separating Gaza from the Zionist Entity. Therefore, ipso facto, the Izzie army was justified in using deadly force against the dispossessed, unemployed, starving Palestinians, bereft of all hope for a better life. Naturally, Hamas, the “militant group controlling Gaza,” provided the Israelis grounds for negative comments."

According to Diana Buttu, a Palestinian-Canadian lawyer and former Palestinian negotiator, “From the video footage, we can see that people were shot in the back. Others were shot for carrying tires or for simply walking into these areas. These were individuals who posed no threat whatsoever. Even if they were attempting to cross the border, you don’t use live fire to kill people who are crossing a border.” 

Moreover, she commented “the point of this was to highlight the fact that Palestinians cannot return. Eighty percent of the Palestinian population of the Gaza Strip does not come from the Gaza Strip. They are actually refugees driven out by the Israelis. While Israel keeps claiming that there were attempts to ‘infiltrate,’ in any case, this is not a proper response….The fact that Israel was positioning snipers on the border indicates that they were ready, willing and able to shoot protesters in the back. The head of the Israeli defense establishment has said that every one of these snipers should be commended.”

Tasnim: Israel has rejected international calls for probes into recent deaths and insisted that its open-fire rules for Gaza will not change. Some Western states, particularly the US and Britain, who call themselves champions of human rights, have supported the Tel Aviv regime’s crimes against Palestinians. The UN has also failed to restore the rights of the people. What is your assessment? What role can Muslim countries play in protecting the rights of the oppressed people of Palestine?

Springmann: Too many Western countries, such as the US and the United Kingdom, pay only lip service to human rights. Those words to them are applicable only to certain countries, usually those whose policies cannot be controlled by Washington.  Look at the vehement vituperation aimed at Iran, Syria, Russia, and China. Western nations denounce them for all sorts of human rights violations. Then look at the praise heaped on countries such as Israel, "the only democracy in the Middle East".  Whenever, the Zionist Entity engages in brutal treatment of Palestinians, other Arabs, and Muslims, America and its pet dogs loudly proclaim that Israel has a right to defend itself.  And it is the US and its "allies" who control the United Nations, preventing it from taking any significant action against Israel.

Muslims countries can play a significant role in helping protect the rights of the oppressed Palestinian people.  First, they must be united.  Second, they must use their national and international resources to call out the US, Great Britain, and other countries for turning a blind eye to Zionist crimes.  TV and radio and international journalists must show the blood, the starvation, the misery of the Palestinians.  Look what happened to the American war in Vietnam.  Once it made the evening news and showed middle and upper class college students being killed, the American people rose up against President Lyndon Johnson and his war. Third, Muslim countries, some of which are oil producers, can withhold their petroleum exports to the US. Fourth,  Muslim countries can refuse acceptance of any new American or British ambassador until Israel is brought to heel.  In the alternative, those countries can expel those ambassadors already in place until meaningful action is taken.

Tasnim: Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman, has recently said that Israelis “have the right to have their own land” and that formal relations between Tel Aviv and Riyadh could be mutually beneficial. Given the fact that the Saudi regime once opposed Israel’s right to exist, what do the comments signal to the world’s public opinion? Do the remarks have an impact on the oppression against Palestinians?

Springmann: Statements about Israel from Saudi Arabia's crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman, indicate a major shift in the country's policy.  By saying that Israel has a right to its own land, Mohammad bin Salman is saying that the Palestinians do not have a right to their own land.  In reality, that real estate was taken away from them by a country which did not own it and was given to a people who had no claim to it.

Those remarks signal to the rest of the world that some Arab countries do not care about other Arabs. The comments demonstrate that there is no united "Arab World".  They show that Arabs can be easily divided.  All it takes is a little political influence, a bit of money, and some help in working against a perceived "enemy". 

Mohammad bin Salman's words suggest that his country has abandoned the Palestinians for the ephemeral benefits of closer ties to Israel. By saying the Zionist Entity has a right to its own land, the Saudi crown prince is green lighting any and all future Israeli atrocities against the Palestinian people.

 

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