Bahrainis, Saudis show understanding of Israeli actions against Hezbollah

Signs of thawing ties with the Persian Gulf countries; Saudi journalist al-Ghabin says Palestinians already have a home and it is Jordan. “Most of the Arab people will stand with Israel," he conclude

September 3, 2019 04:28
2 minute read.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) greets Bahrain Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifah

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) greets Bahrain Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifah before a working lunch at the conference on Peace and Security in the Middle East in Warsaw, on February 14, 2019. (photo credit: JANEK SKARZYNSKI / AFP)

In yet another sign of thawing ties between Israel and the Persian Gulf countries, Bahrain’s foreign minister and both a Saudi journalist and a Saudi military expert expressed understanding and support for Israel’s actions against Hezbollah on Sunday.

“The aggression of one state on another is something prohibited by international law,” Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa said in a tweet highly critical of Lebanon. “A state standing by watching battles taking place on its borders and endangering its people is a state being complacent in [carrying out] its responsibilities.”

In another tweet, he quoted Lebanese Christian politician Samir Geagea as saying that it is “unacceptable” for Lebanon to be placed in a situation where it will face a devastating war not of its own choosing.
Bahrain is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which blacklisted Hezbollah as a terrorist organization in 2016.

This was not the first time the Bahraini foreign minister has backed Israel’s right to defend itself. In May 2018, following an Iranian rocket attack on the Golan Heights that prompted an Israeli retaliatory response, he tweeted: “It is the right of any country in the region, including Israel, to defend itself by destroying sources of danger.”

In Saudi Arabia, journalist Abdul Hameed Al-Ghabin, who has some 143,000 Twitter followers, asked in a post: “Where will we stand if Israeli forces invade Lebanon to root out Hezbollah?”
“The landscape has changed completely since 2006,” he wrote, referring to the Second Lebanon War, “and with it, many concepts and values have changed regarding Israel and Hezbollah. The first proved to be a state of peace, and the second is nothing but the ugly face of Iran.”

Al-Ghabin’s conclusion: “Most of the Arab people will stand with Israel.”
Last month, the journalist wrote a piece published in Israel Hayom under the headline, “A new Saudi perspective for peace,” in which he characterized Saudi Arabia’s interest in having better ties with Israel as “plain common sense.”

 He took Jordan and the Palestinian Authority harshly to task for criticizing Riyadh for improving ties with Israel, saying, “Both have benefited from the Arab-Israeli conflict. While Palestinian children die to become ‘martyrs,’ Jordan’s king cruises the Mediterranean in his yacht and [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas’s sons are likely to be found vacationing in Nova Scotia – the preferred destination, I am told.”
Answering his own question about “how we can achieve peace if the Palestinian people remain without a place to call home,” Al-Ghabin said, “this home already exists – and  it is called Jordan.

“Jordan is already 78% of historical Palestine. Jordanians of Palestinian origin are more than 80% of the population,” he wrote. “Jordan is essentially already the Palestinian-Arab state. The only problem is the King of Jordan refuses to acknowledge this. Nonetheless, the world will eventually recognize Jordan as the place for Palestinian statehood. It could be sooner than we think.”

When this happens, he wrote, “we Arabs won’t feel guilty normalizing relations with Israel as another regional state.”

Another voice raised in support for Israel against Hezbollah came from Mohammed Al-Qubayban, a Saudi military and strategic expert. In an interview with Iraqi-based satellite television station Alsumaria, he said that Israel acted in defense, and that it has a “legitimate right to protect its borders.” He also said that what led to this entire situation was Iran’s destabilizing activity in the region.


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