Kuwaiti writer Abdullah Al-Hadlaq said that Israel was an independent and legitimate sovereign state and that there was no occupation, but instead, "a people returning to its promised land." "When the State of Israel was established in 1948, there was no state called 'Palestine,'" said Al-Hadlaq. He recalled that he had once written: "I wished that we could be like the people of the State of Israel, who rallied, down to the very last one, to defend a single Israeli soldier." In the interview, which was broadcast by the Kuwaiti Alrai TV channel on November 19, Al-Hadlaq further said that he believed in peaceful coexistence with Israel and envisioned a three-way alliance of Israel, the Arab Gulf states, and America "in order to annihilate Hizbullah beyond resurrection." The interview caused an uproar in the Arab media and social networks.
Host: "What is Israel? What does it represent? Is it a state? A group? A terrorist organization? An entity? How can we define it before we go into our topic of discussion?"
Abdullah Al-Hadlaq: "Like it or not, Israel is an independent sovereign state. It exists, and it has a seat at the United Nations, and most peace-loving and democratic countries recognize it. The group of states that do not recognize Israel are the countries of tyranny and oppression. For example, North Korea does not recognize Israel, but this does nothing to detract from Israel or from the fact of its existence, whether we like it or not. The State of Israel has scientific centers and universities the likes of which even the oldest and most powerful Arab countries lack. So Israel is a state and not a terror organization. As I was saying, it is an independent country..."
Host: "Is it a legitimate country?"
Abdullah Al-Hadlaq: "Yes, it is legitimate. It received its legitimacy from the United Nations.
"My colleague called Israel 'a plundering entity,' but this may be refuted both in terms of religion and politics."
Host: "In what way?"
Abdullah Al-Hadlaq: "From the religious perspective, Quranic verse 5:21 proves that the Israelites have the right to the Holy Land. Allah says: 'When Moses said to his people... Oh my people, enter the Holy Land which Allah has assigned to you.' So Allah assigned that land to them, and they did not plunder it. The plundering entity is whoever was there before the arrival of the Israelites. Therefore, I do not go for obsolete slogans and terms like 'Zionist plundering entity,' and so on. The fact that I am an Arab should by no means prevent me from recognizing Israel. I recognize Israel as a state and as a fact of reality, without denying my Arab identity and affiliation."
Guest: "I don't know... Let's determine the frame of discussion. Is Palestine and its occupation an Arab cause or a religious one?"
Abdullah Al-Hadlaq: "There is no occupation. There is a people returning to its promised land.
"Are you aware that the history of the Israelites is ancient, predating Islam? Therefore, we Muslims must acknowledge that the Israelites have a right to that land, and that they have not plundered it. The people who say that it was plundered are still thinking in the mentality of the 1950s and before.
"When the State of Israel was established in 1948, there was no state called 'Palestine.'"
Host: "So where did we get that name, which we have been defending for 60 years?"
Abdullah Al-Hadlaq: "It didn't exist. There were various communities living in Arab countries. They were called 'Canaanites,' 'Amalekites,' or a whole host of other names. The Quranic verse even says: '...in it are a people of great strength [Jabbareen].' Some people called them 'Jabbareen.' Therefore, there was no state called 'Palestine.' I insist on this."
Host: "You once wrote in a column: 'I wish I were an Israeli soldier.'"
Abdullah Al-Hadlaq: "Right."
Host: "So it's no longer just about recognizing Israel. You say that you wish you were an Israeli soldier."
Abdullah Al-Hadlaq: "Right."
Host: "You didn't write it in the first person, but you wrote that the Arab youth wish they could be Israeli soldiers. Is this logical? Is this realistic?"
Abdullah Al-Hadlaq: "I wrote that article in 2006 when Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was kidnapped. When I wrote this, I did not mean that I'd like to bear arms and fight for Israel, but that I wished that we could be like the people of the State of Israel, who rallied, down to the very last one, to defend a single Israeli soldier. So I wrote: 'I wish I could be such a soldier whose country defends him.' By Allah, if he were a soldier in any Arab country, would his nation, country, or head of state rally the same way Israel did? The Arab countries have had thousands of casulaties, and nobody cares about them.
"To tell you the truth, I have reservations about the word 'normalization,' and I would prefer to call it 'peaceful coexistence with the State of Israel.'"
Host: "Like Egypt and Jordan..."
Abdullah Al-Hadlaq: "Exactly. Peaceful coexistence."
Host: "And what was the outcome?"
Abdullah Al-Hadlaq: "Both sides benefited from it."
Host: "Should the Arabs and Muslims stand with Israel against Hizbullah?"
Abdullah Al-Hadlaq: "The head of a major Gulf state said that he was ready to collaborate with Satan against the Persian entity. By 'Satan,' he meant Israel. They call it 'Satan.' But I say: Why shouldn't we live in peaceful coexistence with Israel, and cooperate with it against my great enemy, which is the Persian regime?"
Guest: "You say that the Zionist entity opposes Iran?"
Abdullah Al-Hadlaq: "The Persian regime boasts that it has occupied four Arab capitals, and that it will soon occupy the fifth. Has Israel ever said such a thing? Has it boasted about occupying anything? No, because it never occupied anything. Israel came to its own land, whereas the Iranian Persian entity is a plunderer.
"I support the establishment of a three-way alliance, consisting of Israel, the Arab Gulf states, and America, in order to annihilate Hizbullah beyond resurrection."