Several prominent Saudi journalists and intellectuals expressed support for Israel during the latest Gaza flare-up last weekend, and blamed Iran for the outbreak in hostilities.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad fired hundreds of rockets at southern Israel over a two-day span, nearly provoking an all-out war. Israel responded with retaliatory air strikes and assassinated a top Hamas commander who was reportedly a conduit for Iranian funds. A ceasefire went into effect early Monday morning.
According to translations by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), prominent Saudi intellectual Dr. Turki Al-Hamad blamed the violence on Iran and Turkey, both regional rivals of Saudi Arabia.
“It’s a repeating loop: rockets [are fired] from Gaza into Israel, Israel bombs [Gaza], someone or other mediates, the fighting stops — and the common Palestinian folks pay the price,” he wrote. “This is ‘resistance,’ my friend. Iran and Turkey are in trouble, and the Palestinians are paying the price.”
Another Saudi, Mut’ab Al-Jabrin, responded to Al-Hamad with an attack on Hamas, saying, “Since the Hamas coup and its takeover of Gaza, the [Gaza] Strip has been suffering mismanagement which has caused [its residents] to lose even the most basic services, [namely] power and water.”
“[All this is] due to the foolish policy of Hamas, which does nothing but fire a few rockets that fall even before they reach their target, and which achieve no balance [of power] and exert no political pressure,” he added. “It ends with Israeli strikes that destroy the Gaza Strip’s infrastructures.”
Saudi journalist Muhammad Aal Al-Sheikh, of the Al-Jazirah newspaper (not the Qatari news network), explicitly blamed Iran for the violence, writing, “The Persian ayatollahs have instructed their servants, Hamas, to escalate [the conflict] with Israel, and they obeyed. The result is seven Palestinians dead, versus one Israeli wounded.”
Four Israelis were in fact killed by the Hamas rockets.
Referencing US President Donald Trump’s continuing campaign to put more sanctions on Iran, Al-Sheikh said, “The Persians are tightening the pressure on the US and Israel in retaliation for Trump’s decision, and the victims are the people of Gaza.”
Saudi intellectual and former director of the Middle East Center for Strategic and Legal Studies in Jeddah, Abd Al-Hamid Al-Hakim, wrote strongly in support of Israel and also blamed Iran, writing to Israelis, “Our hearts are with you. May Allah protect Israel and its people.”
“We will not let the treacherous hand of Iran and its agents in Gaza reach the Israeli people,” he added.
“It’s time to say this out loud: confronting the terror of Hamas is the responsibility of all the countries in the region and of the international community [as a whole], not only of Israel,” Al-Hakim asserted. “I say to the Arabs…: Do you want these murderers and agents of Iran to rule Jerusalem?!”
by Benjamin Kerstein