Responding to the recent barrage of rockets fired into Israel from Gaza and Israel’s justified retaliation, Saudi Arabian journalists and intellectuals threw their support behind Israel, accusing Hamas of acting on behalf of Iran in retaliation for tightened U.S. sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
MEMRI (h/t Mike F) The latest round of fighting between Israel and Gaza sparked many reactions from Saudis on Twitter. Noteworthy among these responses were tweets, including by prominent intellectuals and journalists, that sided with Israel and hoped for its safety and victory, while attacking Hamas and its policy, in particular its firing of rockets. It should be noted that this is not the first time Saudi intellectuals and academics have openly expressed support for Israel and criticized Hamas.
Liberal Saudi author and intellectual Dr. Turki Al-Hamad described the latest flare-up of the fighting in Gaza as a predictable and ever-repeating scenario, while blaming it on the troubles plaguing Iran and Turkey. He tweeted: “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.
Responding to Al-Hamad’s tweet, Saudi Twitter user Mut’ab Al-Jabrin attacked Hamas and its policy in Gaza: “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. It ends with Israeli strikes that destroy the Gaza Strip’s infrastructures.”
Senior Saudi journalist Muhammad Aal Al-Sheikh, who writes for the Saudi daily Al-Jazirah, tweeted that the firing of rockets from Gaza is carried out on orders from Iran, in retaliation for the tightening of the U.S. sanctions: “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. The Persians are tightening the pressure on the U.S. and Israel in retaliation for Trump’s decision, and the victims are the people of Gaza.”
Saudi intellectual and researcher ‘Abd Al-Hamid Al-Hakim, the former director of the Middle East Center for Strategic and Legal Studies in Jeddah, who frequently writes in support of Israel, expressed hope for peace with this country and its people, and called on the region and the world to take responsibility and confront Hamas. He tweeted: “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. 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.
Muhammad Al-Kahtani, a Saudi user from Riyadh, tweeted: “[Message from] Saudi Arabia: We stand with our cousins in Israel following the terror attack of the terrorist Hamas, [in which] over 200 rockets have been fired on unarmed civilians. May Allah protect Israel and give it victory over the terrorist Hamas and everyone who supports it.