TEL AVIV – A staunchly pro-Israel Saudi journalist said he was stripped of his citizenship over charges of espionage, Arab media reported.
Hamid Al-Ghabin claimed on Twitter his “life was in danger” and said he was charged with spying and smuggling millions of dollars in cash out of Saudi Arabia.
“A letter was passed to the Minister of Interior, among the accusations; intelligence with a foreign country, smuggling of money estimated at hundreds of millions out of the Kingdom, management of officers and officials of a senior state, providing luxury cars for them,” he tweeted.
Ghabin appealed to the Saudi interior minister and to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for amnesty. He wrote:
I hope that soon I will be able to send a message to my master Mohammed bin Salman and His Excellency the Attorney General to provide protection for me. My record is very clean in State Security and General Intelligence, and they know me completely, whether in Saudi Arabia or when I was in Kuwait or London. I do not need to answer to any security apparatus.
Ghabin, who has appeared on Israeli television, accused Saudi officials of “conspiring” against him.
His citizenship was withdrawn in December with no reason given.
Ghabin has been vocal about his pro-Israel views and has called for normalizing relations between Riyadh and Jerusalem.
He has also endorsed the notion of Jordan being a state for the Palestinians.
In April 2019 he declared, “Palestinians who do not accept to be a part of the State of Israel should be deported to Jordan.”
“The world will eventually recognize Jordan as the place for Palestinian statehood.” he said, and added that when that happens “we Arabs won’t feel guilty normalizing relations with Israel as another regional state.”
In September, Ghabin claimed “Most of the Arab people will stand with Israel” when it comes to the conflict with the Lebanese terror group, Hezbollah.
Gulf countries – including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE – have enjoyed covert relations with Israel, despite having no official ties.
In April 2018, bin Salman himself told The Atlantic Israelis “have the right to have their own land” and that establishing ties between Israel and the kingdom would be beneficial for both sides.
He said, “I believe that each people, anywhere, has a right to live in their peaceful nation. I believe the Palestinians and the Israelis have the right to have their own land.”
“But we have to have a peace agreement to assure the stability for everyone and to have normal relations,” he added.
Earlier that month, the Saudi royal also slammed the Palestinian leadership for missing every opportunity for peace with Israel for decades, saying they should either resume negotiations or “shut up,” according to multiple witnesses at a meeting between the crown prince and Jewish leaders in New York.
“For the past 40 years, the Palestinian leadership has missed opportunities again and again, and rejected all the offers it was given,” he was quoted as saying by Israeli media.
“It’s about time that the Palestinians accept the offers, and agree to come to the negotiating table — or they should shut up and stop complaining,” he continued.
Several sources at the event were shocked by the “ferocity” of the Saudi leader’s remarks and “literally fell off their chairs.”