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Ex-Saudi MP backs 'Riyadh is more important than Jerusalem' drive

Muslims arrive to perform the Eid Al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) prayer at Al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem on September 01, 2017. ( Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency )
Muslims arrive to perform the Eid Al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) prayer at Al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem on September 01, 2017. ( Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency )

I support the "Riyadh is more important than Jerusalem" hashtag, the former member of the Saudi Arabia's Consultative Assembly (parliament) and Professor of Contemporary History, Abdullah Al-Zulfah, has announced.

Since last Tuesday, Saudis have been using the phrase "Riyadh is more important than Jerusalem" on social media platforms, reflecting their views on what they perceive as "a plot" launched by Iran and some of the northern Arabic countries against Saudi Arabia. It was used by Saudis to accuse Palestine of disregarding the Kingdom's efforts to help them in the Israel-Palestine conflict.

The hashtag, which coincided with Hamas' recent rejection to classify Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation, has prevailed on Twitter in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, with more than 11,000 participants, including writers, poets and celebrities.

Speaking in interview with Quds Press, Al-Zulfah stressed that Saudis were "the first to defend Jerusalem and the rights of the Palestinians."

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"Unfortunately, Arabs of the north [Levant and North Africa] do not recognise our efforts," he said, noting "if they conspire against Riyadh with Iran, then Riyadh is better than all the Arabs."

Al-Zulfah pointed out, the hashtag is not a prelude to declare normalisation with Israel or the so-called "Deal of the Century", stressing that "it is an expression of the Saudis' readiness to defend their country against any conspiracy by Iran and its agents".

On his part, the Chairman of the Board of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, Rami Abdu, said on Twitter that the hashtag was "merely a series of systematic episodes to divert the Arabs' attention from their major issues".

The trending hashtag was not supported by some Saudis who apologised on social media to their Palestinian and Arab neighbours, criticising the idea behind the hashtag and expressing support for Palestinians and Jerusalem in the face of the ongoing occupation.

Last week, a Russian-born Israeli Jew, Ben Tzion, sparked outrage on social media after sharing photos of himself displaying Hebrew words at the mosque in Madina, Islam's second holiest site. He claimed he travels to holy sites out of "respect" and "love toward people".

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