Amid a quiet thawing of relations between Israel and more moderate Arab states, a leading Kuwaiti journalist this month sparked public outrage when he dared to get real about the Jewish state.
Writer Abdullah Al-Hadlaq was taking part in a panel discussion on Kuwait's Alrai TV when he not only rejected the notion that Israel is an occupying power, but went so far as to accept the legitimacy of the Jews' return to their ancient homeland.
He went on to heap praise on the advanced and progressive Jewish state, which puts to shame most of its Arab neighbors.
In remarks translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Al-Hadlaq said:
"When the State of Israel was established in 1948, there was no state called 'Palestine.'
"Like it or not, Israel is an independent sovereign state. It exists, and it has a seat at the United Nations, and most peace-loving and democratic countries recognize it. The group of states that do not recognize Israel are the countries of tyranny and oppression.
"For example, North Korea does not recognize Israel, but this does nothing to detract from Israel or from the fact of its existence, whether we like it or not. The State of Israel has scientific centers and universities the likes of which even the oldest and most powerful Arab countries lack. So Israel is a state and not a terror organization.
"There is no occupation. There is a people returning to its promised land. Are you aware that 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."
2/5 Al-Hadlaq: The Israelites Have a Right to the Holy Land; They Did Not Occupy It pic.twitter.com/fFO3vW8UkA
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) November 22, 2017
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