Saudi Hashtag On Jerusalem Angers Palestinians

AP/Hassan Ammar

TEL AVIV — A social media hashtag started by Saudi activists is drawing anger from Palestinians for its message “#Riyadh_is_more_important_than_Jerusalem.”

The hashtag led to a social media war with the Saudis claiming that the Palestinians turned their backs on the Saudis, who supported them for years. Social media sites quickly filled up with angry responses from both sides of the argument.

Many Palestinian social media users said that the hashtag is part of a campaign meant to prepare public opinion in Saudi Arabia for normalization with Israel, which, according to the Palestinian posters, is becoming clearer by the day.

The Palestinians and the Saudis who were against the hashtag claimed that it was a continuation of Saudi news website ELAPH’s recent interview with Israeli Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot.

Palestinian social media users also connected the hashtag to reports on social media of an Israeli blogger’s visit to Saudi Arabia and the Islamic holy sites there.

The hashtag set off a social media war between users from both sides, with a minority warning that it was creating needless hostility between the Palestinians and the Saudis and amongst Muslims in general.

The social media tension between the Saudis and the Palestinians wasn’t all the Palestinians have had to deal with recently. A Kuwaiti media personality has angered the Palestinians by claiming that there is no such thing as a Palestinian ethnicity and that the Palestinians are a gathering of different groups called by different names.

According to Abdullah al-Hadlaq, who gave an interview to one of the Kuwaiti television channels, “The State of Israel, whether we like it or not, is an independent sovereign country, an existing country with a seat at the UN and it’s recognized by most of the countries that believe in peace and democracy. Those who don’t recognize it are the countries controlled by tyrants like North Korea, which doesn’t recognize Israel. But that doesn’t change the fact that it exists whether we like it or not.”