A Saudi journalist has claimed that his country has revoked his and his family’s citizenship due to his strong support for Israel and its relations with the kingdom.
Abdul Hameed Al-Ghobein told the US-based news site the Media Line that though he was not officially informed by the authorities about the reason for his citizenship being revoked, he insists that it is a result of his vocal and constant calls for the Saudi government to normalise relations with Israel.
Having written for numerous Israeli newspapers and having used his social media accounts to praise Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government, Al-Ghobein stated: “I call for direct and unconditional ties with Israel. This is a strategic choice.”
He elaborated that “Israel was nice to us when international public opinion was against us during the Khashoggi murder case,” referring to the murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of Saudi agents in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul on 2 October last year.
Al-Ghobein expanded on his view that it was in the strategic interests of Saudi Arabia to normalise relations with the Jewish state, reminding that “Israel’s position after Iran targeted the oil facilities was clear, and it stood by Saudi Arabia” during the large attack on an oil facility in September, which was allegedly carried out by Iran and its regional allies and proxies.
Despite his concerns over the revoking of his citizenship, Al-Ghobein said that he will not question or criticise the decision if it was under the order of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, stating that “we only listen and obey”.
The decision has reportedly been of great news to Palestinians, with Dimitri Deliani, a member of the Fatah party in the West Bank, telling the Media Line that although he does not agree with the revocation of Al-Ghobein’s citizenship, he “deserves” to be punished or disciplined.
“I am in favour of…punishing those who come out against their government’s decision to boycott the occupying power [Israel]. Maybe not by revoking citizenship, but there should be a law to punish them,” Deliani said. He also said that Al-Ghobein and other fellow pro-Israel journalists “distort the Palestinian cause” and “inadvertently help their country’s opponents.”
Over this past year there have been a variety of young Saudi journalists who have been espousing pro-Israeli views and justifications of the Jewish state’s occupation of Palestinian territories, and most prominently the call for Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations to normalise ties with Israel.
In recent years, Saudi Arabia along with other Gulf Arab states have been fostering increasingly warm relations with Israel, raising concerns from many that they are slowly normalising those relations.
In January it was revealed that three prominent Iraqi delegations consisting of some of the country’s leaders and politicians secretly visited Israel and met with government officials and academics in order to discuss Iraqi-Jewish heritage and to build a foundation for future ties between both nations. In July, the foreign ministers of both Israel and Bahrain held a public meeting together in the US, marking the first such incident to openly take place between an Arab country and Israel.
To add to those incidents, over the past few years there have emerged numerous revelations of secret meetings between Israeli officials and those from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in particular, which was recently discovered to have had two decades of secret relations with the country.