Hezbollah and the Lebanese authorities were quick to deny Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s revelation in his speech at the Sept. 27 U.N. General Assembly in New York that Hezbollah has built three missile facilities in Beirut amid the civilian population and close to the international airport, and is thereby “deliberately using the innocent people of Beirut as human shields.”
However, intellectuals and prominent journalists in the Gulf wrote that they believe Netanyahu more than the denials coming out of Lebanon. The editor of the Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassa, Ahmad Al-Jarallah, even called on Netanyahu to attack Hezbollah’s missile sites, stating that the peoples of the region will applaud and thank him for this.
It should be noted that this is not the first time that intellectuals in the Gulf, especially in Saudi Arabia, have expressed support for Israel’s positions and actions. In May 2018, Saudi intellectuals and journalists welcomed Israel’s attack on Iranian military sites in Syria in response to the firing of Iranian missiles from Syria into Israel. Following the death of dozens of Palestinians in the Gaza border riots on May 15, 2018, the day the United States moved its embassy to Jerusalem, Saudi intellectual Abd Al-Hamid Al-Hakim placed the responsibility for the fatalities on Iran, Turkey and Hamas.
This report reviews responses by journalists and intellectuals in the Gulf in support of Netanyahu’s statements against Hezbollah in his recent General Assembly speech.
Saudi liberal: ‘I Believe Netanyahu More Than Hezbollah’
In a Sept. 28 tweet, Saudi liberal Turki Al-Hamad wrote that he is inclined to believe Netanyahu more than Hezbollah: “Lebanon has denied Netanyahu’s claims that Hezbollah manufactures precision missiles in [Beirut’s] Al-Ouza’i [neighborhood]. To be truthful, I don’t know where the truth lies, but I believe Netanyahu more than I believe Hezbollah. In ’67, Israeli radio described the advance of the Israeli forces, while [Egypt’s radio station] Sawt Al-Arab counted Israeli planes that were falling one by one. And then we were surprised by the [Arab] defeat.”
Read the full report at MEMRI.