Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman talks with Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud during the Gulf Cooperation Council's (GCC) Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia December 9, 2018.
(photo credit: BANDAR ALGALOUD/COURTESY OF SAUDI ROYAL COURT/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
Several prominent Saudi journalists and intellectuals tweeted their support for Israel in its latest confrontation with Hamas, according to a report from the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
Some responses to the battles also blamed Iran for instigating the crisis.
"Our hearts are with you. May Allah protect Israel and its people," wrote Abd Al-Hamid Al-Hakim, former director of the Middle East Center for Strategic and Legal Studies in Jeddah.
"We will not let the treacherous hand of Iran and its agents in Gaza reach the Israeli people," he continued. "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. I say to the Arabs...: Do you want these murderers and agents of Iran to rule Jerusalem?!"
Al-Hakim has a history of pro-Israel statements, and a year ago he even tweeted his support for the opening of Saudi and Israeli embassies in the countries' respective capitals. Incidentally, he said the Saudi embassy should be opened in Jerusalem.
Saudi journalist Muhammad Aal Al-Sheikh asserted that Iran ordered the rocket strikes on Israel from Gaza because of US sanctions: "The Persians are tightening the pressure on the U.S. and Israel in retaliation for Trump's decision [to tighten sanctions on Iran], and the victims are the people of Gaza."
Another author, Dr. Turki Al-Hamad, wrote, ""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. This is 'resistance,' my friend. Iran and Turkey are in trouble, and the Palestinians are paying the price."
Saudi Arabian media is experiencing a gradual thaw in attitudes toward the Jewish state. According to a previous report in MEMRI, Saudi pro-Israel voices have been making themselves heard for several years now.
The thaw is driven by the recognition among many Saudis that Saudi Arabia and Israel share a common enemy in Iran. Saudis view Iran, which is funding Houthi rebels in Yemen against whom the Saudis are currently fighting, as an existential threat, while they consider Israel to be, at least, the enemy of its enemy.
Most of the Saudi media remains hostile to Israel.
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