Saudi Arabia withdraws citizenship of pro-Israel journalist

Saudi journalist who advocates normalisation with Israel has citizenship withdrawn
3 min read
17 December, 2019
Saudi Arabia has deprived Abdul Hameed Al-Ghabin, a journalist who has called for normalization with Israel and praised Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, of his Saudi citizenship
Abdul Hameed Al-Ghabin has effusively praised Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu [Twitter]
A leading Saudi advocate of normal relations with Israel has had his citizenship withdrawn.

Abdul Hameed Al-Ghabin confirmed on Twitter that Saudi authorities had deprived him of his citizenship saying he did not know the reason behind the move.

The journalist has previously written for Israeli newspapers and praised right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In August, he wrote a column for the right-wing Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom where he attacked Jordan as an "anti-peace force" and said that Saudi Arabia viewed Israel "as a logical future partner for us".

He also concluded that Saudi Arabia and Israel "have mutual enemies: Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, and a handful of reckless rulers who remain in power in our region".

Another controversial statement by Al-Ghabin was that Palestinians should consider Jordan as their future homeland, saying that the kingdom is "essentially already the Palestinian state… 78 percent of historical Palestine".

Al-Ghabin's descriptions of Jordan echoed right-wing Israeli rhetoric from the 1980s which said that "Jordan is Palestine", rejecting withdrawal from the occupied West Bank and Gaza on this basis.

Read also: Israel's profitable occupation and the billion dollar cost to Palestine

Jordan was briefly included in the British Mandate of Palestine in 1920 but was removed a year later, becoming a separate British-protected emirate and later became an independent kingdom.

In a tweet in November, Al-Ghabin lavished praise on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been a constant opponent of Palestinian self-determination. Netanyahu plans to annex one-third of the West Bank if he wins a new term as prime minister.

"Netanyahu, may God keep you and protect you. You were faithful and honest to the state and people of Israel, you were decisive and brave. Israeli society needs a long time to produce someone like you. You deserve to be honoured among great people because you've made Israel a country welcome in the Arab region," Ghabin tweeted.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have increasingly been normalising ties with Israel, despite Israel's continued occupation of the West Bank, siege of Gaza, and persecution of Palestinians. Netanyahu is currently facing corruption charg in Israel.

Five days prior to the removal of his citizenship, the Israeli foreign ministry retweeted a rambling video made by Al-Ghabin in which he spoke of the alleged benefits of normalizing relations with Israel, mentioning Israel’s agricultural technology.

Al-Ghabin said on Twitter that he "respected" the decision of the Saudi government to withdraw his citizenship. In a later tweet on Tuesday he praised Saudi strongman Prince Mohammed bin Salman as "the hope and the light who resists all evils" and attacked the Muslim Brotherhood, calling them "rats" who had "infiltrated" the Saudi kingdom.



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