In a rare public move, a Kuwaiti writer has urged Arab recognition of the State of Israel as a legitimate, “independent sovereign state,” and Israelis as a people with a right to their land.
In an interview to Kuwait’s Alrai TV channel on Sunday, translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, Abdullah Al-Hadlaq said “there is no occupation. There is a people returning to its promised land.”
Al-Hadlaq’s comments elicited a backlash on Arabic websites and on social media, where commentators variously labeled him a “fool,” a “traitor,” and a Zionist agent. Comments to a Facebook post with the Alrai video were laden with expletives.
In the interview, Al-Hadlaq expressed admiration for the Jewish state and its values. He called for a rejection of the prominent regional narrative that Israel was “plundered” from the Arabs, describing this as an outdated mentality.
“When the State of Israel was established in 1948, there was no state called ‘Palestine,'” he said.
“Like it or not, Israel is an independent sovereign state,” Al-Hadlaq said. “Most peace-loving and democratic nations recognize it. The group of states that do not recognize Israel are the countries of tyranny and oppression.”
Kuwaiti Writer Abdullah Al-Hadlaq: Israel Is a Legitimate State, Not an Occupier; There Was No Palestine; I Support Israel-Gulf-U.S. Alliance to Annihilate HizbullahKuwaiti writer Abdullah Al-Hadlaq said that Israel was an independent and legitimate sovereign state and that there was no occupation, but instead, "a people returning to its promised land." "When the State of Israel was established in 1948, there was no state called 'Palestine'," said Al-Hadlaq. He recalled that he had once written: "I wished that we could be like the people of the State of Israel, who rallied, down to the very last one, to defend a single Israeli soldier." In the interview, which was broadcast by the Kuwaiti Alrai TV channel on November 19, Al-Hadlaq further said that he believed in peaceful coexistence with Israel and envisioned a three-way alliance of Israel, the Arab Gulf states, and America "in order to annihilate Hizbullah beyond resurrection." The interview caused an uproar in the Arab media and social networks.
Posted by The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) on Wednesday, 22 November 2017
Al-Hadlaq cited Quranic verses as proof that “Israelites have the right to the Holy Land. Allah assigned that land to them, and they did not plunder it.
“The history of the Israelites is ancient, predating Islam. Therefore we Muslims must acknowledge that the Israelites have a right to that land, and that they have not plundered it,” he said.
Al-Hadlaq also spoke with glowing praise of Israel’s “scientific centers and universities, the likes of which even the oldest and most powerful Arab countries lack.”
And he celebrated Israel’s loyalty to its soldiers, speaking effusively of the lengthy public campaign to free soldier Gilad Shalit from Hamas captivity in 2011. He said he wished Arabs could be like the people of Israel “who rallied, down to the very last one, to defend a single Israeli soldier.
“By Allah, if he were a soldier in any Arab country, would his nation, country or head of state rally the same way Israel did? The Arab countries have had thousands of casualties, and nobody cares about them.”
Finally, Al-Hadlaq called for cooperation with Israel against common enemies such as Iran and its allies. “Why shouldn’t we live in peaceful coexistence with Israel and cooperate with it?” he asked.
He suggested a three-way alliance between Israel, the US and Gulf states to “annihilate Hezbollah beyond resurrection.”
It was not the first time Al-Hadlaq has made his pro-Israeli opinions known. He has in the past written columns in which he has defended Israel’s right to defend itself in the face of Hamas attacks, and lauded Israel’s democracy in a region of oppressive regimes.
He has been heavily criticized in Arab circles for these views.