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memri
October 3, 2018 No.
7694

Intellectuals, Journalists In Gulf Attack Hizbullah Following Israeli Revelation Of Its Missile Sites In Beirut

Hizbullah and the Lebanese authorities were quick to deny Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's  revelation in his speech at the September 27, 2018 UN General Assembly in New York that Hizbullah has built three missile facilities in Beirut amid the civilian population and close to the international airport, and is thereby "deliberately using the innocent people of Beirut as human shields."[1] However, intellectuals and prominent journalists in the Gulf wrote that they believe Netanyahu more than the denials coming out of Lebanon. The editor of the Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassa, Ahmad Al-Jarallah, even called on Netanyahu to attack Hizbullah's missile sites, stating that the peoples of the region will applaud and thank him for this.

It should be noted that this is not the first time that intellectuals in the Gulf, especially in Saudi Arabia, have expressed support for Israel's positions and actions. In May 2018, Saudi intellectuals and journalists welcomed Israel's attack on Iranian military sites in Syria in response to the firing of Iranian missiles from Syria into Israel.[2] Following the death of dozens of Palestinians in the Gaza border riots on May 15, 2018, the day the U.S. moved its embassy to Jerusalem, Saudi intellectual 'Abd Al-Hamid Al-Hakim placed the responsibility for the fatalities on Iran, Turkey and Hamas.[3]  

This report reviews responses by journalists and intellectuals in the Gulf in support of Netanyahu's statements against Hizbullah in his recent General Assembly speech.


Aerial photo of the missile sites presented by Netanyahu at the UNGA (aawsat.com, September 28, 2018)

Saudi Liberal: I Believe Netanyahu More Than Hizbullah

In a September 28, 2018 tweet, Saudi liberal Turki Al-Hamad wrote that he is inclined to believe Netanyahu more than Hizbullah: "Lebanon has denied Netanyahu's claims that Hizbullah manufactures precision missiles in [Beirut's] Al-Ouza'i [neighborhood]. To be truthful, I don't know where the truth lies, but I believe Netanyahu more than I believe Hizbullah. In '67, Israeli radio described the advance of the Israeli forces, while [Egypt's radio station] Sawt Al-Arab counted Israeli planes that were falling one by one. And then we were surprised by the [Arab] defeat."[4]


Turki Al-Hamad's tweet

Editor Of Kuwaiti Daily To Netanyahu: Attack Hizbullah's Missile Sites; The Peoples Of The Region Will Applaud You

Ahmad Al-Jarallah, editor of the Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassa, likewise responded to Netanyahu's statements in a series of tweets. He wrote: "Thank you Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel. You have revealed to the Lebanese people the Iranian missile sites in Lebanon. You have confronted them with [the reality of] the Iranian weapons of mass destruction that the Party of Satan [a play on the name Hizbullah, which means "Party of God"] has brought into the Lebanese state in order to bring destruction upon it and its people. Netanyahu, we will be very grateful if you destroy [these weapons] before they destroy Lebanon and Israel." In another tweet the same day he reiterated this call: "Once again, Mr. Netanyahu, do not hesitate to attack the war machine of the Party of Satan in Lebanon. Destroy it. The Lebanese people, who have been defeated by the devils of the southern Dahiya [Hizbullah's stronghold in Beirut], will thank you. In fact, all the peoples of the region will thank you. Iran must be driven out of these countries, along with its agents."[5]


One of Al-Jarallah's tweets

In an earlier tweet he wrote: "Bravo, Netanyahu! We in the Arab Middle East [also] suffer from [the actions of] Iran and the Party of Satan that Israel is complaining about, but we can do nothing about them... Netanyahu, do it [attack the missile sites], and the region will applaud you and appreciate your action."[6]

Saudi Columnist: Hizbullah Wants To Use The People Of Beirut As Human Shields

In his October 2, 2018 column in the Saudi Al-Jazirah daily, Muhammad Aal Al-Sheikh echoed Netanyahu's statement that Hizbullah is using the people of Beirut as human shields, writing: "Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu stated that Israel has identified three sites in Al-Ouza'i, close to the Beirut airport, where Hizbullah is preparing to manufacture precision missiles. This is a heavily populated area, and the practical implication is that [Hizbullah] means to turn the civilians [there] into human shields. If Israel attacks these sites, Hizbullah will accuse it of killing innocent civilians, and if [Israel] leaves [these sites alone], they will pose a threat and a danger to its security. Israel always regards its security as a red line that nobody may cross, regardless of the implications...

"Obviously, Hizbullah will never heed [Israel's warnings], since it is an ideological movement which places ideology above human [lives]. Hizbullah celebrates [the death of] martyrs, and glorifies death for the sake of its ideological movement... As everyone knows, Hizbullah is an agent of the Persian ayatollahs, and provoking Israel to attack Lebanon and create many martyrs will [only] serve Iran in its struggle against the U.S. and its allies. [Such an attack] will sway Arab public opinion towards Iran and against Israel, and by extension also against the U.S., which is expected to hit Iran with economic sanctions the like of which have not been seen in modern history.

"According to the indications on the ground that are available to us, Lebanon, and especially the leaders of the terrorist sectarian [i.e., Shi'ite] Hizbullah, will not sit quietly and watch their sources of funding drying up... Lebanon is therefore likely to become a new war zone and Iran's first line of defense, and Hizbullah will not care about the immense, unprecedented losses that will ensue..."[7]    

 


[1] Mfa.gov.il, September 27, 2018.

[4] Twitter.com/TurkiHAlhamad1, September 28, 2018.

[5] Twitter.com/Ahmadaljaralah, September 28, 2018.

[6] Twitter.com/Ahmadaljaralah, September 27, 2018.

[7] Al-Jazirah (Saudi Arabia), October 2, 2018.